ESPN President John Skipper Resigns To Deal With Substance Addiction

By Victoria Kim 12/20/17

“I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction. I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem.”

John Skipper
Photo via YouTube

ESPN President John Skipper announced his resignation on Monday (Dec. 18), at the same time disclosing that he made the decision in order to address a substance use disorder.

“I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction,” said Skipper in a press release. “I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem.”

“I come to this public disclosure with embarrassment, trepidation and a feeling of having let others I care about down. As I deal with this issue and what it means to me and my family, I ask for appropriate privacy and a little understanding.”

The news of the resignation came as a bit of a surprise. In early November, CNN Money reported that ESPN had extended Skipper’s contract through 2021. But when asked the reason behind the seemingly last minute decision to step down, a source told CNN Money, “Addiction doesn’t follow neat and orderly lines.” 

Skipper has been with ESPN since 1997, and has served as president of the company since 2012. 

According to CNN Money, as president Skipper “managed ESPN’s hugely profitable portfolio at a time of tremendous stress on the cable business,” leading the transition to multi-platform TV viewing as consumers switch from cable to smartphones and computers.

“I have disclosed that decision to the company, and we mutually agreed that it was appropriate that I resign,” Skipper continues in the press release.

Former ESPN President George Bodenheimer will take over as Acting Chair of the company until Skipper’s replacement is found. 

“I have great respect for John’s leadership, and I applaud the courage he’s demonstrating by addressing his challenge head on,” said Bodenheimer. “The most important thing right now for John and his family is that he conquers his addiction, and the entire ESPN family is behind him.”

Skipper left ESPN and its parent company, The Walt Disney Company, on good terms. Chairman and CEO of Walt Disney, Bob Iger, also wished him well in his recovery.

“I join John Skipper’s many friends and colleagues across the company in wishing him well during this challenging time,” Iger stated in the same press release. “I respect his candor and support his decision to focus on his health and his family.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr