Christine Driessen is the executive vice president and chief financial officer for ESPN. She is responsible for overseeing all of the company’s financial operations worldwide and has influenced ESPN’s unprecedented growth over the last 32 years through her strategic role as financial counsel during every rights negotiation, every affiliate negotiation and at every turn.
She most recently played a key role in the company’s major multimedia programming rights deals including an historic 20-year agreement with the SEC through 2034 establishing the SEC Network which became the most successful new channel launch in cable history. Other rights deals include Major League Baseball, NBA, Monday Night Football, the College Football Playoff, the Rose, Sugar and Orange Bowls, the ACC, The Pac 12 and the Big 12, US Open Tennis and The Masters. Driessen also has played an important role in the company’s broadband, mobile and WatchESPN (authentication) businesses.
Driessen also drove the financial strategy for every single affiliate distribution deal including Comcast, Charter and AT&T’s DIRECTV. Her insight played a significant role in the agreements reached with new VMVPD entrants like Hulu, YouTube TV, Playstation Vue, Dish’s Sling TV and DIRECTV Now.
Driessen has been instrumental in the launches of numerous networks and services including ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN3, ESPNU, ESPN Deportes and espnW as well as negotiating agreements for ESPN’s foreign investments.
As ESPN’s most-tenured senior woman, Driessen’s impact is felt by many and transcends her business success. She was instrumental in the award-winning Global Sports Mentorship Program – a joint ESPN and U.S. Department of State initiative created to sustain sports opportunities for under-served women and girls worldwide. Driessen also founded ESPN’s Executive Women’s Forum, a group dedicated to helping women executives succeed in business and at ESPN. The goals of the group -- which includes over 50 female executives -- include identifying key actions to address concerns unique to women across ESPN, promoting leadership development and providing networking opportunities for women within the company. She was appointed by President and CEO Bob Iger of The Walt Disney Company to sit on the corporation’s diversity council representing ESPN. She is also co-chairman of ESPN’s diversity council and was instrumental in establishing eight Employee Resource Groups which exist to support employees and enhance ESPN’s diversity mission, including groups focused on women and families. She has mentored many both informally and through Disney, ABC and ESPN-sponsored mentorship programs.
Driessen has also dedicated countless hours to a number of organizations including the Women’s Sports Foundation (Board of Trustees) and Fordham University (Board of Trustees 2005-2011). She is a long-time member and supporter of Women in Sports and Entertainment (WISE) and Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT).
Many organizations, both inside and outside the industry, have bestowed Driessen with honors over the years including most recently: UJA Federation of New York Sports For Youth Honoree of the Year (2015), ranked #3 on the 2015 Forbes Most Powerful Women in Sports list; WICT Woman of the Year (2014) and WISE Women of Distinction award (2014).
Driessen joined ESPN in August 1985 as controller and was named vice president, finance and planning in 1990. In 1994, she was promoted to senior vice president and chief financial officer, and in 1998 she was elevated to the position of executive vice president. Prior to joining ESPN, Driessen worked for the public accounting firm of Peat, Marwick & Mitchell in New York City.
Driessen graduated from Fordham University with a bachelor of science degree in accounting. She is married with two children.