James Pitaro was named ESPN president and co-chair, Disney Media Networks, on March 5, 2018, after serving eight years as a top Disney executive. In making the announcement, Bob Iger, The Walt Disney Company chairman and chief executive officer, said, “Jimmy’s appointment was the result of more than 20 years spent at the intersection of technology, sports and media.”
A visionary leader, Pitaro has identified and consistently communicated internally and externally four business priorities — Innovation, Storytelling and Programming, Audience Expansion and Direct to Consumer — to keep ESPN poised for future success.
In Pitaro’s year-plus as President, his collaborative leadership style has led to impressive results, including reaching creative new rights agreements with the NFL and UFC encompassing Disney-wide assets; ratings successes with a variety of shows and series, including ESPN’s signature show, SportsCenter; and the April 2018 launch and consistent growth of ESPN+, the multi-sport, direct-to-consumer video service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment and ESPN.
Pitaro earned a bachelor of science degree in economics in 1991 from Cornell University. He earned his Juris Doctor from St. John’s Law School in 1994. After practicing law in New York for five years, he was named head of business affairs for Launch.com in 1999 before joining Yahoo.