ESPN said Christine Driessen, its executive vice president and chief financial officer and one of the most prominent women executives in TV sports, will retire in January 2019.
"As you all know, Christine’s career is one of great accomplishment," ESPN president James Pitaro said in a note to employees announcing the move. "When she started with the company as its Controller in 1985, ESPN was a mere 450 employees, two buildings joined by a catwalk and a small offering of sports content. Today, ESPN represents the most preeminent brand in sports media entertainment, and Christine has played a major role in this growth story."
Driessen, who also is the longest serving member of ESPN's board of directors, made the decision months ago, Pitaro said.
A Multichannel News Wonder Woman (class of 2006) and a Women in Cable Telecommunications Woman of the Year (2014), Driessen was named ESPN's CFO in 1994. She will step down from day-to-day duties on July 1 and become an adviser to Pitaro, who succeeded former ESPN president John Skipper in March.
"She has helped guide every significant business decision and every major negotiation (domestically and internationally) in which the company has engaged," Pitaro noted. "Christine’s keen financial acumen and business judgment are rivaled only by her boundless energy, humanity and courage. She has worked fiercely to grow and develop the members of her team, champion the cause of diversity and inclusion, and graciously serve as an example and sponsor for hundreds of women at ESPN, Disney, Hearst and companies throughout the media and sports industries."