ESPN appoints senior leaders to new roles

ESPN appoints senior leaders to new roles

ESPN, the Walt Disney-owned sports broadcaster, has announced new roles for some of its senior leaders.

Mike Morrison, who joined ESPN in 2007, will become vice president of business development. After leading the pay-TV broadcaster in Asia Pacific since 2008, he will return to USA in his new position, reporting to Justin Connolly, the executive vice president of affiliate sales and marketing, Disney and ESPN Media Networks.

Morrison’s tenure in Asia Pacific has seen ESPN expand in those markets with the launching of multiple brand licence-based deals, including with Tencent in China, Sony in India and TV5 in the Philippines.

Tom Bunnell, meanwhile, will add the oversight of China and North Asia businesses to his functional roles.

Charly Classen expands his role to include the management of ESPN’s businesses in south-east Asia, Australia, New Zealand and India, on top of his original task of overseeing interests in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

According to ESPN, Bunnell’s responsibilities will ‘allow for greater alignment across ESPN’s primarily English-speaking businesses in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia, as well as sports such as soccer, cricket, football and Formula One’.

George Bodenheimer, the former president and executive chairman of ESPN, will serve as acting chair of the company in order to oversee the transition process.

The announcement follows the news in December that ESPN president John Skipper was resigning from his post due to a substance addiction.

Connolly said: “Mike’s extensive experience in creating innovative solutions and managing and executing partnerships will allow for an effortless transition into a business development role on our team. He will be integral to our efforts in identifying and building new business opportunities.”

Russell Wolff, executive vice president at ESPN International, added: “Both Tim and Charly bring great experience, energy and expertise to succeed in their expanded roles. We want to sincerely thank Mike for his commitment and contributions over the years leading the APAC region, and welcome him back to the US.”