Former ESPN president John Skipper, who resigned from the network in December citing his struggle with a ‘substance addiction’, has been named executive chairman of Perform Group.
Based in New York, the American will oversee all of the global sports media company’s operations and strategy, reporting to the Perform Group board.
A Perform statement issued on Tuesday said Skipper’s hiring ‘reflects Perform Group's strategy for global expansion across all divisions’, with Simon Denyer, the group’s London-based chief executive, specifically referencing plans to roll out its DAZN streaming service in more countries across the globe.
"Perform is rapidly expanding its role in sports media with significant investments in the best content and our own platform,” said Denyer. “We are now preparing to push forward with the expansion of DAZN, our live and on-demand streaming service, in more major markets around the world.
"DAZN is revolutionising how fans watch their favorite sports. John is one of the most significant leaders in the history of our industry, and I am delighted that he has agreed to join me and the team to help take Perform to the next level of our ambitions.”
A widely respected executive in the world of sports broadcasting and media, Skipper spent two decades at Disney-owned ESPN before stepping down late last year to deal with what we called a substance addiction problem. During his time at the company, Skipper helped lay the groundwork for ESPN+, the network's new over-the-top (OTT) streaming service which launched last month.
Commenting on his new role, Skipper said: "Simon and his team have built an enormously impressive company, providing an excellent base to establish a global leadership position in the over-the-top sports subscription business, the clear future of sports delivery.
“Perform Group's platform and expertise, coupled with its success in launching subscription services in Germany, Japan and Canada provides a model we intend to replicate around the world."
Len Blavatnik, the chairman of Access Industries and Perform Group's majority shareholder, added: "Since our initial investment ten years ago, Perform has become one of the most important brands in the sports media industry and a key holding in the Access portfolio. John’s addition to the team and Board will help the company continue its impressive progress."