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Volume 21 No. 22
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Bodenheimer to stay on board as adviser

Former ESPN President George Bodenheimer will stay with the company through the end of the year in an advisory role to new president Jimmy Pitaro.

 

As Pitaro’s consultant, Bodenheimer will be a sounding board as the new president learns the inner workings and culture around ESPN. At least at the beginning, Bodenheimer will help Pitaro cultivate relationships with prominent sports executives, setting up and attending meetings together.

In December, Bodenheimer stepped in as an acting chairman after John Skipper resigned, citing a substance abuse problem. Bodenheimer served in that capacity for 77 days.

As acting chairman, Bodenheimer calmed Wall Street’s concerns following Skipper’s sudden resignation. He provided a calm leadership hand for ESPN employees, too, but it was clear that Bodenheimer had little interest in diving into the company’s daily mundane matters.

He attended the CFP Championship game in Atlanta weeks after coming back but made few public appearances that an ESPN president would make. He opted out of making the trip to Minneapolis for the Super Bowl or Los Angeles for the NBA All-Star Game. Bodenheimer primarily stayed in Bristol, though he watched the Super Bowl from Florida, sources said.

Bodenheimer’s right-hand man, executive vice president of administration Ed Durso, also will stick around in a consultancy role. Durso planned to retire in December but returned when Bodenheimer became acting chairman.

Bodenheimer is a legendary figure in ESPN’s history. He originally was hired to work in ESPN’s mailroom in 1981. Seventeen years later, he became ESPN’s president. His 13-year stint as president (1998-2011) is the longest anyone has served in that position.