FORMER PRESIDENT AND EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, ESPN, INC.
George Bodenheimer is an ESPN and cable industry pioneer and, as the company’s longest-tenured President (13 years, 1998-Dec. 31, 2011), he led an unprecedented period of global growth. He oversaw all multimedia sports assets of The Walt Disney Company from March 3, 2003 – December 31, 2011 and was co-chairman, Disney Media Networks from April 20, 2004 – December 31, 2011.
On January 1, 2012, Bodenheimer assumed the newly created position of Executive Chairman, ESPN, Inc. In that capacity, he provided strategic direction for ESPN’s global business until he chose to leave the company May 31, 2014.
From December 2017 into March 2018, Bodenheimer served as Acting Chair of ESPN. He continues to serve as an advisor.
Bodenheimer strongly believes that ESPN’s culture is the company’s strategic advantage. As President, he viewed his primary role as working hard to preserve and enhance that culture while emphasizing career development for all of ESPN’s people.
Bodenheimer began his ESPN career in the administration department as a driver in the mailroom just 16 months after the launch of the network. He learned the company from the ground up by taking positions in the affiliate sales and marketing department throughout the country – Dallas, Chicago, Denver, Bristol and New York.
He was strategically involved in the development and distribution of the ESPN domestic networks including ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes and ESPNU, as well as ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com and ESPN Radio.
As President, Bodenheimer elevated the company’s numerous corporate outreach initiatives, most notably The V Foundation for Cancer Research, which was founded by ESPN and the late basketball coach and commentator Jim Valvano. Bodenheimer has served on the board of directors for many years and continues to play an active role in its fundraising activities.
Bodenheimer’s leadership has been recognized throughout the industry. In April 2005, he received a Vanguard Award, the industry’s highest honor, from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. He was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame in 2008 and in 2012 into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
Bodenheimer was graduated from Denison University in 1980 with a bachelor of arts degree in economics. He is married with three children.
FEATURED INTERVIEW - Focus on Mission, Brand and Culture: Unleash the Innovation Within Your Organization
As the Executive Chairman of ESPN, George Bodenheimer rose from the company’s mailroom to become one of the most respected figures in the media business. In this conversation with SBJ’s Executive Editor Abe Madkour, Bodenheimer will discuss the importance of focusing on innovation and growth within large organizations— and how to foster an environment where good ideas are cultivated, developed and executed.