ESPN Shakes Up Exec Ranks, Taps Connor Schell to Oversee Content Teams

Connor Schell - Apple Store Soho 2016 - Getty - H 2017
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The newly promoted exec will oversee content creation across television, digital and print platforms.

ESPN is shaking up its executive ranks. 

Connor Schell has been named the sports network's executive vice president of content, effective immediately, network president John Skipper announced Friday. Schell will oversee all of ESPN’s content creation across television, digital and print platforms.

Schell's new responsibilities will also include studio and remote production as well as digital and print content creation. He will continue to report directly to Skipper.

"Connor has demonstrated keen insight into what resonates with fans, and his instincts allow him to excel at managing the creative process," Skipper said. "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.”

Former executive vp of digital and print media, John Kosner, a 20-year veteran of the network, will depart immediately while executive vp of global business and content strategy Marie Donoghue will also exit the company at the end of this year. Donoghue had recently been in charge of ESPN's Exit 31 unit which oversaw Grantland titles and the FiveThirtyEight films banner. Schell previously had reported to her.

For his part, Kosner led the team that built 12 global versions of the website and 11 versions of the network's mobile app, an online presence which boasts 120 million unique visitors monthly. “Our tremendous scale in digital media and the smart evolution of our digital products is directly attributable to John’s passion, business savvy and relentless focus on innovation," Skipper said of the departing Kosner. "We are managing dynamic change from a position of strength, and John’s efforts are a big reason why. I am grateful for his many contributions.”

Schell had previously overseen ESPN Films, helping the sports network land its first Academy Award in February for the documentary O.J.: Made in America. He had also worked with Bill Simmons to launch the acclaimed 30-for-30 series. His most recent role as senior vice president and executive producer of original content saw Schell responsible for the ESPYs, NBA Countdown and The Jump, as well as ESPN hits like Pardon the Interruption and First Take.

“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," said Schell. "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.”