In a shocking announcement Monday morning, ESPN president John Skipper said he is resigning from the company due to a substance addiction problem.
"I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem," Skipper said in a statement. "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 (Disney chairman) Bob (Iger) displayed here and always.
"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."
Former ESPN president George Bodenheimer will serve as ESPN's acting chairman over the next 90 days as the company searches for Skipper's replacement, according to the press release announcing the news.
Skipper joined ESPN in 1997 and took over as the company's president in 2012. He has overseen a tumultuous period in the network's history, which has included both the expansion of exclusive rights agreements with multiple leagues and multiple waves of layoffs, including the elimination of roughly 150 positions last month.
Skipper, who will turn 62 on Tuesday, had recently signed a contract extension to remain with the company through 2021.
"I join John Skipper’s many friends and colleagues across the company in wishing him well during this challenging time," Iger said in a statement. "I respect his candor and support his decision to focus on his health and his family.
"With his departure, George Bodenheimer has agreed to serve as Acting Chair of ESPN for the next 90 days to provide interim leadership, help me identify and secure John’s successor, and ensure a smooth transition. I am grateful for George’s support and look forward to working with him again in this temporary role."
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
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