ESPN president John Skipper announced on Monday that he is resigning his duties as head of ESPN, citing “substance addiction” as the reason for his abrupt departure.
“Today I have resigned from my duties as President of ESPN,” Skipper, 61, said in a statement.
Skipper’s statement continued, “I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction. I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem.”
Skipper, 61, revealed that in telling ESPN about his struggle, it was a mutual business decision that he part ways with the company.
“I have disclosed that decision to the company, and we mutually agreed that it was appropriate that I resign,” Skipper’s statement said. “I will always appreciate the human understanding and warmth that Bob [Iger, chief executive officer] displayed here and always.”
Skipper revealed that he felt embarrassment, fear, and disappointment leading up to announcing his resignation.
“I come to this public disclosure with embarrassment, trepidation and a feeling of having let others I care about down,” the statement went on. “As I deal with this issue and what it means to me and my family, I ask for appropriate privacy and a little understanding.”
Skipper concluded by noting his pride at having worked with his colleagues, calling it a “privilege.”
“I take great pride in your accomplishments and have complete confidence in your collective ability to continue ESPN’s success,” Skipper’s statement concluded.
Skipper joined ESPN in 1997 as senior vice president and general manager of ESPN The Magazine. He became president of the company in 2012.
According to ESPN, George Bodenheimer, former ESPN president and executive chairman, will take over as acting chairman of the company until Skipper’s replacement can be found.