John Skipper
John Skipper

John Skipper, ESPN president & co-chairman of Walt Disney Media Networks resigned today due to substance abuse.

The 61-year-old, who signed a contract in November through 2021, released a statement saying he struggled for many years with a substance addiction.

“I come to this public disclosure with embarrassment, trepidation and a feeling of having let a of lot others I care about down.

“As I deal with this issue and what it means to me and my family, I ask for appropriate privacy and a little understanding.

“To my colleagues at ESPN, it has been a privilege. I take great pride in your accomplishments and have complete confidence in your collective ability to continue ESPN’s success,” he said.

Skipper joined ESPN in 1997 as senior VP and general manager of ESPN The Magazine. He assumed his current post on Jan. 1, 2012.

George Bodenheimer, who was president from 1998 though 2011, will serve as acting chair for the next 90 days. He will help search for a successor to Skipper.

ESPN has struggled this year, announcing two rounds of layoffs.