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ESPN makes slew of new appointments for content and strategy teams

ESPN has appointed Connor Schell as executive vice president of content. This will see Schell overseeing all of ESPN’s content creation across ESPN’s television, digital and print platforms. He will now undertake additional responsibility for studio and remote production, and digital and print content creation.

He will continue to report to John Skipper, ESPN president.

Schell has served as an executive producer of various projects across The Walt Disney Company in television and film.  In his most recent role as senior vice president and executive producer, ESPN Original Content, Schell has been responsible for the ESPYSNBA Countdown and The Jump, and opinion-based studio shows including Pardon the Interruption and First Take.

Norby Williamson, executive vice president, production and executive editor, will take on duties relating to daytime studio programming, original content and the ESPN Films group. This includes content operations, creative services, multi-media sponsorship integration, management operations, content development and special projects.

Stephanie Druley, senior vice president, events and studio production, will continue to be responsible for all of ESPN’s event production, and all studio content associated with the NFL, MLB and college sports.

Rob King, senior vice president, SportsCenter, news and information, will continue to oversee SportsCenter and news content. He will now add responsibility for all global digital and print content, including platforms such as ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, and ESPNFC, to name a few. This merges all of ESPN’s news and information operations under one management team.

Williamson, Druley and King will all report to Schell.

Meanwhile, John Kosner, executive vice president, digital and print media, will be leaving the company after 20 years with the company. During his tenure, Kosner led the company’s march to “unsurpassed scale” amongst sports brands in digital media, both in the US and around the world. He and his team have built 12 global editions of ESPN.com, in addition to 11 global versions of the ESPN app.

As part of these overall changes, Ryan Spoon, senior vice president, product and digital media, will now report to Aaron LaBerge, executive vice president & chief technology officer, fully integrating product and technology development under LaBerge. Spoon will continue to lead the design, product management, and audience development for all of ESPN’s digital products and will add responsibility for digital media prioritisation and strategy.

ESPN also announced a change in the teams overseeing ESPN’s strategy and business development work.

Justin Connolly, executive vice president, affiliate sales and marketing, adds strategy and development to his portfolio. This currently includes oversight of all distribution for the Disney and ESPN Media Networks. According to ESPN, Connolly and the affiliate team will continue to coordinate these efforts with Disney Strategy head Kevin Mayer.

Meanwhile, Marie Donoghue, executive vice president, global business and content strategy, will remain with ESPN through the end of the year in an advisory role to Skipper.  Most recently, she has been instrumental in the company’s BAMTech investment.

“Connor has demonstrated keen insight into what resonates with fans, and his instincts allow him to excel at managing the creative process.  I have tremendous confidence that he and his new team of talented executives will help us create dynamic content that will break through in a changing environment,” Skipper said.

“ESPN has always been at the forefront of the creation of exceptional content for sports fans across every platform, and my colleagues are the most creative, collaborative and dedicated people in the industry.  I am very excited about working with this team to build on our legacy of innovation and great storytelling to continue to serve fans in new ways,” Schell said.

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