Changes announced within ESPN’s content division

ESPN's Digital Center 2 (DC2), scheduled to open this Spring at the company's Bristol, Conn. headquarters.
ESPN’s Digital Center 2 (DC2), scheduled to open this spring at the company’s Bristol, Conn. headquarters.

ESPN President John Skipper sent the following note to the company this afternoon announcing changes within the content division:

A hallmark of our company has been consistent focus on enhancing creativity and innovation in service to sports fans and it is important to continually align our people and resources to support that effort. Toward that end, we are implementing a new structure in our Programming and Production departments that seeks to renew and expand our creative energies while effectively positioning our individual strengths.

John Wildhack will assume the new role of EVP Programming and Production reporting to me. He will continue to oversee all of our production efforts while adding overall responsibility for programming acquisitions, rights holder relationship management and scheduling. In his 33 years with ESPN, John has expertly filled a wide variety of production and programming management roles, and is without question, exceptionally well qualified to lead the now-combined areas.

Norby Williamson will assume the new role of EVP Production, Program Scheduling & Development, reporting to John Wildhack. In addition to continuing his oversight of program scheduling, Norby will take on additional responsibilities in programming and production with a portfolio that includes, among other duties, ESPN International production, Audio, ESPN Deportes, Production Operations, Creative Services and a more formal approach to creating innovative new programming — a skill he has admirably demonstrated over the years. In this role, Norby will help us advance the strategy of our programming lineups and incubate new original programming concepts and show development across our platforms.

The following executives will now also report to Wildhack:

Mark Gross, SVP Production & Remote Events, will now oversee all event production for the domestic networks, our Talent office and multiple studio operations covering NFL, NBA and college. Jed Drake, SVP & Executive Producer, will maintain his current portfolio now reporting to Mark. Mark has proven adept at guiding our studio and football programming expansion and we look forward to bringing his perspective to all of our game productions going forward. Jed has distinguished himself and ESPN with innovative techniques on a variety of sports categories and special projects in the past, and we look forward to what he and his team have in store with this year’s World Cup in Brazil.

Rob King, SVP SportsCenter and News, will transition from the digital and print arena to oversee all of SportsCenter and our newsgathering operations. In his time with ESPN, Rob has brought his many talents to all of our editorial platforms, and is well suited to lead the future efforts of our company’s biggest sub-brand. Vince Doria, SVP, Director of News, who has notified us that he plans to retire in early 2015, will now report to Rob and will begin to transition his newsgathering responsibilities to Craig Bengtson, VP, Director of News, who is currently quite busy with bringing SportsCenter to Digital Center 2 later this year. Vince has elevated us immensely each day of his time with us, and his contributions deserve more time and consideration than a passing reference in a note such as this. . . stay tuned. Patrick Stiegman, VP, Editorial Digital & Print Media, will assume Rob’s previous responsibilities overseeing digital and print editorial operations reporting to John Kosner, EVP, Digital and Print Media.

Burke Magnus, SVP Programming Acquisitions, will be responsible for all of the company’s program acquisitions and rights holder relations. He and his team have done a tremendous job crafting our leadership position in college sports, and ESPN and our many programming clients will benefit from his experience. Scott Guglielmino, SVP Programming & Global X; Justin Connolly, SVP College Networks; Julie Sobieski, VP League Sports Programming; and Pete Derzis, SVP & GM ESPN Regional Television, will report to Burke. In addition, Rosalyn Durant, VP College Sports Programming, will also report to Burke and assume expanded responsibilities as a key leader of ESPN’s college programming.

Stephanie Druley, VP Production College Networks. Stephanie recently added production oversight of the SEC Network launch to her existing Longhorn Network duties, and she is working diligently with Justin on both those businesses. The SEC Network is an outstanding opportunity for the company warranting our significant attention.

The following executives will report to Williamson:

Steve Anderson, EVP Content Operations & Creative Services, who will continue to oversee production operations and creative services, areas that are essential in our continued quest to innovate.

Traug Keller, SVP Production Business Divisions/Audio & Deportes, who will continue to be responsible for our ESPN Audio and ESPN Deportes businesses, each of which has grown consistently under his leadership.

John Papa, VP Programming Content Strategy and Scheduling, who, in addition to his responsibility for scheduling all of ESPN’s television networks and services, will now have the opportunity to contribute to our overall programming development efforts. John and his team have done a masterful job of solving a very complicated puzzle each day in pursuit of maximizing viewership, and his new area of focus will help us in that pursuit as well.

Marcia Keegan, VP Production, who will continue in her current role and whose responsibilities include stewardship of several of our high-profile studio shows, including First Take, Numbers Never Lie and SportsNation. She will continue to work with Norby in supervising Jamie Horowitz, VP Original Programming.

Rodolfo Martinez, VP International & ESPN Deportes Production, who, as a dual report to Norby and Tim Bunnell, Sr. VP, Programming & Marketing ESPN International, will continue the excellent work he has done leading our international and ESPN Deportes production efforts. ESPN Deportes just celebrated 10 impactful years and Rodolfo and his team have contributed significantly to our success.

This team is unparalleled in our industry and I am very much looking forward to their future contributions. Please join me in congratulating everyone and in wishing them continued success.

– John

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