SBD/June 16, 2017/People and Pop Culture

ESPN Promotes Connor Schell To Oversee Content Creation; Kosner, Donoghue Leaving

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Schell now oversees all studio and remote production, digital content and more
ESPN President JOHN SKIPPER has made significant changes to his management team, promoting CONNOR SCHELL to Exec VP/Content, where he will oversee all ESPN content creation on all platforms. As part of the moves, Exec VP/Digital & Print Media JOHN KOSNER is leaving ESPN after a 20-year run with the company and Exec VP/Global Business & Content Strategy MARIE DONOGHUE will leave ESPN at the end of the year. ESPN announced the moves earlier this morning. For ESPN, the moves streamline the content exec management team, with Schell, an SBJ/SBD "Forty Under 40" HOFer, overseeing programming content, Exec VP/Programming & Scheduling BURKE MAGNUS overseeing programming business and Exec VP/Affiliate Sales & Marketing JUSTIN CONNOLLY overseeing distribution, strategy and development. Clearly, the biggest winner from the moves is Schell, who now oversees all ESPN content: studio and remote production, digital and print content, ESPN Films, Original Content, Audio and the ESPN Talent Office. Three execs who used to report to Skipper now report to Schell -- Exec VP/Production & Exec Editor NORBY WILLIAMSON, Senior VP/Events & Studio Production STEPHANIE DRULEY and Senior VP/”SportsCenter,” News & Information ROB KING. As part of the moves, King will oversee all news and information across all platforms, Druley will oversee all global productions and Williamson will oversee daytime studio programming, original content, ESPN Films, ESPN Audio and the Talent Office. Another notable move is with Magnus, who will continue to report to Skipper and adds oversight of ESPN’s important BAMTech relationship to his duties.

BIG HOLES TO FILL: The biggest surprise has to be Kosner, who is leaving ESPN after 20 years of heading up the company’s digital efforts. “Our tremendous scale in digital media and the smart evolution of our digital products is directly attributable to John’s passion, business savvy and relentless focus on innovation,” Skipper said in a prepared statement. With Kosner’s departure, Senior VP/Product & Digital Media RYAN SPOON will report to Exec VP/Chief Tech Officer AARON LABERGE. Kosner said, “I had a great run at ESPN, and the beat goes on.” The departure of Donoghue, an SBJ "Game Changer" in '12, also is a surprise as she had been an important part of Skipper’s management team. An ESPN source said Donoghue had been exploring other opportunities, but Skipper asked her to remain as an advisor through the rest of the year.
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