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Former ESPN Chief John Skipper Joins Len Blavatnik’s Perform Group as Chairman

Former ESPN president John Skipper has joined streaming sports media firm Perform Group as executive chairman.

Skipper will oversee the company’s operations and strategy as it seeks to expand its streaming, rights management and content activities. He will report to the board of directors at the company controlled by Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries.

Skipper will be based in New York. Simon Denyer will continue as CEO of the U.K.-based firm.

“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,” said Skipper.  “Perform Group’s platform and expertise, coupled with its success in launching subscription services in GermanyJapan and Canada provides a model we intend to replicate around the world.”

Skipper’s appointment at Perform Group comes five months after he hastily ended his 20-year run at ESPN, citing a substance use problem. Skipper disclosed in March that he had long been a user of cocaine and was forced to resign under pressure of blackmail from a person who had sold him drugs. Skipper has earned praise for his forthright disclosure of his personal struggle.

Skipper’s move to a budding global sports service is no surprise, given his long tenure at ESPN.

“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,” said Len Blavatnik, chairman of Access Industries. “John’s addition to the team and Board will help the company continue its impressive progress.”

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