There will be a new era in Bristol beginning January 1, 2012 as ESPN President George Bodenheimer steps down and Executive VP John Skipper steps in. Bodenheimer will stay on as "Executive Chairman" when Skipper takes over the day-to-day operations of running a multi-billion dollar empire. Here's the announcement from ESPN and quotes from Bodenheimer and Skipper:
"Bodenheimer, currently President of ESPN and ABC Sports and Co-Chair of Disney Media Networks, will relinquish his day-to-day operating responsibilities January 1. As Executive Chairman of ESPN, Bodenheimer will continue to chair ESPN’s Board of Directors, provide strategic direction and support a seamless transition to Skipper, who will assume day-to-day operating responsibilities January 1. Skipper has served as ESPN’s executive vice president, content, since October 2005."
“I’ve been with ESPN 31 years – my entire professional career. Constant change and consistent growth have marked each of those years, and to me those two themes underscore today’s news. We’ve demonstrated that change managed well is healthy – for companies and for people. After 13 years as President, I felt it was a good time to step away from the day to day management of ESPN and let others take the lead. I very much appreciate Bob's support over the years, and look forward to my future role with ESPN." - Bodenheimer
“I am humbled and excited to be given the opportunity by Bob and George to lead this terrific company. George set a high bar and an impeccable example, and I will dedicate all of my energy to follow George's lead in both empowering and supporting my 7,000 ESPN colleagues who do such great work every day. I look forward to working alongside them in meeting the many challenges that lie ahead.” - Skipper
Bodenheimer has been with ESPN from the early years of the network and rose from working as a driver for the company all the way to the top. In his thirteen year reign as lord and master of the sports world ESPN President, Bodenheimer has seen the network grow exponentially to even new heights. He's been very highly thought of as ESPN President both inside and outside Bristol as a respected leader in the industry.
Skipper, who came over from Rolling Stone, has been in charge of the network's content for several years. His influence is seen in several rights deals ESPN has won in the last few years and he was the driving force behind the 2010 World Cup success in South Africa. It's a wise move for ESPN as far as I'm concerned. As important as Skipper has been in driving ESPN's evolution and growth as the mothership, he's the natural choice to step in as ESPN President. With Bodenheimer staying on to chair the board of directors, Skipper's arrival shouldn't change ESPN much at all and the transition should be rather simple. Time will tell if Skipper can cement his own legacy at ESPN and join Bodenheimer as one of the Good Emperors.