SBD/Issue 51/Sports Industrialists

Senior Programming Exec Berson, Senior VP Lacey Leaving ESPN

Berson Placed On Special Assignment 
Through The End Of The Year
ESPN is letting go senior execs DAVID BERSON and KATIE LACEY after the two were at the center of reports last month detailing an interoffice relationship. An ESPN spokesperson confirmed the moves Friday, saying, "At the expiration of their contracts, neither will be renewed." Lacey's contract runs through the end of the year; Berson's contract runs much longer, though details of his deal were not available. He has been placed on special assignment for the company through the end of his deal. News of the imminent departure of Berson and Lacey comes nearly four weeks after ESPN dumped MLB analyst STEVE PHILLIPS following press stories of a sexual affair he had with a 22-year old production assistant. The N.Y. Post and sports blog Deadspin followed the news about Phillips with stories detailing Berson and Lacey's relationship, one that she confirmed to the newspaper in October saying, "I'm in an ongoing and known relationship with a peer." ESPN/ABC Sports President GEORGE BODENHEIMER Friday sent employees a memo detailing steps ESPN is taking to address behavior in the workplace. In the memo, which was first obtained and posted by Deadspin, Bodenheimer wrote, "Managers will be held fully accountable for reporting and acting upon inappropriate workplace behavior. Any leader who fails to act responsibly in this regard or whose leadership capability is compromised by their own conduct will not be a part of our Company's future." Berson, 37, is a member of SportsBusiness Journal/Daily's "Forty Under 40" HOF and joined ESPN as an intern in '94. As Exec VP/Program Planning & Strategy, he has been in charge of programming all of ESPN's TV and broadband sites and managed a department with nearly 200 execs. He reported to Exec VP/Content JOHN SKIPPER. ESPN hired Lacey, a two-time "Forty Under 40" winner, in '05 from PepsiCo. Lacey, 44, has been Senior VP/Marketing and reported to Exec VP/Sales & Marketing SEAN BRATCHES.

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