May 9, 2018

Ex-ESPN exec heads British sports streamer

Former ESPN President John Skipper.

Former ESPN Inc. top executive John Skipper, who left the Bristol sports-programming giant last year after admitting a drug problem, has been hired to lead a British sports-streaming service's global expansion.

Skipper will serve as its New York-based executive chairman, said Perform Group founder Simon Denyer, who remains Perform's CEO, said Wednesday. The company claims 3,000 employees in more than 30 countries.

"Simon and his team have built an enormously impressive company, providing an excellent base to establish a global leadership position in the over-the-top sports subscription business, the clear future of sports delivery," Skipper said in a statement. "Perform Group's platform and expertise, coupled with its success in launching subscription services in Germany, Japan and Canada provides a model we intend to replicate around the world."

Skipper resigned from ESPN last December, after 20 years with the sports network, citing a substance abuse problem later identified as cocaine. Skipper declared in a March news interview that he had been the target of an extortion attempt, prompting him to go public with his abuse.

He was succeeded at ESPN by long-time Disney executive James Pitaro.

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