ESPN president John Skipper has resigned. Former president George Bodenheimer will lead the transition.

By Chris Chavez
December 18, 2017

John Skipper has resigned as president of ESPN because of substance abuse issues, the company announced on Monday morning.

"Today I have resigned from my duties as President of ESPN," Skipper announced. "I have had a wonderful career at the Walt Disney Company and am grateful for the many opportunities and friendships. I owe a debt to many, but most profoundly Michael Lynton, George Bodenheimer and Bob Iger. 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."

"I have disclosed that decision to the company, and we mutually agreed that it was appropriate that I resign. I will always appreciate the human understanding and warmth that Bob displayed here and always," he added. "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. To my colleagues at ESPN, it has been a privilege. I take great pride in your accomplishments and have complete confidence in your collective ability to continue ESPN's success."

George Bodenheimer, the former ESPN president from 1998 to 2011, will head the transition team to help Disney chairman and chief executive officer Bob Iger find Skipper's replacement.

Skipper, 61, has served as ESPN's president since Jan. 1, 2012. Skipper was reportedly nearing a contract extension that would have kept him with ESPN through 2021. In 2015, laid off about 300 employees. Last April, ESPN eliminated around 100 journalists and on-air personalities and most recently went through another round of layoffs after the Thanksgiving holiday season.

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