Disney’s Chief Technology Officer Aaron LaBerge to Depart for PENN Entertainment

According to a memo recieved by CNBC internally, the chief technology officer for Disney Entertainment and ESPN, Aaron LaBerge is leaving his job.

LaBerge is moving to a new job as the CTO of PENN Entertainment. This company runs ESPN Bet, which is an online sportsbook licensed by the sports media company.

He’ll be in charge of deciding the technology strategy as one of the top leaders in the interactive division of the company. The memo mentioned that LaBerge is leaving because of personal reasons connected to his family and will stay at Disney until June.

Chris Lawson is to fill an interim role.
LaBerge’s successor search is underway; Chris Lawson is to fill an interim role.

LaBerge has played a big role in developing Disney’s streaming services. Recently, he was also involved in putting ads into Disney+. He has led the efforts to combine Hulu and Disney+ into one streaming app, which just started last month.

At ESPN, LaBerge has been a key person in charge of the company’s streaming services. This includes ESPN+, a sports streaming app that is co-owned by Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Fox, as well as ESPN’s main streaming service that will start in 2025.

His leaving adds to a long list of experienced Disney executives who’ve left in recent years.

Departure adds to Disney’s list of veteran executives exiting in recent years.

This list includes former CEO Bob Chapek, former streaming head Kevin Mayer, former finance chief Christine McCarthy, former Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn, ex-Disney general counsel Alan Braverman, ex-communications head Zenia Mucha, and former Walt Disney Pictures president Sean Bailey.

In an internal message to employees, ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro and Disney Entertainment co-chairs Dana Walden and Alan Bergman expressed gratitude for Aaron’s 20 years of service at Disney.

They also mentioned that while he’s leaving, it’s good that he’ll still be helping Disney and ESPN by joining PENN Entertainment. There, he’ll play a crucial role in the ongoing growth and success of ESPN BET and other parts of their Interactive business.

LaBerge joined Disney in the late ’90s during the acquisition of Starwave, boosting the ESPN partnership.

According to his biography, LaBerge has been in charge of setting the vision and leading the way for how Disney uses technology to tell stories, innovate, run its business, and provide amazing experiences for consumers with entertainment and sports content.

A source familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because it’s a private plan, mentioned that they’ve already started looking for someone to take over LaBerge’s position.

Chris Lawson, who is currently Disney’s executive vice president of content operations and reports directly to LaBerge, will temporarily take over his role when he leaves.

LaBerge initially joined Disney in the late 1990s when the company took over Starwave, a company founded by Paul Allen that partnered with ESPN before Disney fully acquired it in 1998.

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x