Gatti, LaPlaca Communicate Differently For ESPN


Two of ESPN’s longtime communications officers have assumed new roles with the sports giant.

Rosa Gatti is now serving as senior vice president, communications counsel and corporate outreach, with primary focus on further building ESPN’s V Foundation and multifaceted outreach initiatives and advising on overarching communications matters. She now reports to ESPN President George Bodenheimer. 

Chris LaPlaca was named senior vice president, corporate communications and will report to Ed Durso, executive vice president, administration. LaPlaca, in taking over many of Gatti’s responsibilities, will oversee ESPN’s external and internal communications efforts, and will work on a daily basis with The Walt Disney Co.’s corporate communications and investor relations groups.

Gatti and LaPlac have worked together since 1980, when she hired him that July.

“Rosa and Chris have worked together since 1980 in building and leading our highly honored communications efforts,” Bodenheimer said in a statement.. “In addition to Rosa’s communications leadership, she has grown our corporate outreach and V Foundation efforts which are making a significant impact and will be expanded worldwide. Chris has earned wide respect both inside and outside the company and we are pleased to have him lead our communications efforts.”

Gatti, the first woman sports information director in the NCAA’s major university division when she was named to that post at Villanova in 1974, Gatti, joined ESPN in July 1980 as director of communications and has been responsible for the company’s public relations operation since.

She was named vice president, communications in 1981 and senior vice president seven years later. She was named to her most recent position, as senior vice president, corporate communications and outreach in 2003. ESPN’s corporate outreach area includes the company’s employee volunteerism, corporate giving, and cause-marketing programs.

Gatti has received numerous sports and cable industry awards, including Multichannel News’s Wonder Woman accolade.

LaPlaca joined ESPN, 10 months after its launch in 1979 in Bristol, Conn., as a communications representative.  He was named director in 1985, vice president in 1990 and senior vice president in 2003.  He was named to his most recent position as senior vice president, communications two years ago. LaPlaca is responsible for the ESPN’s worldwide internal, public and media relations strategy and operation, including oversight of consumer and corporate communications for its 50 business units. 

He has served on several industry programming boards and Bristol, Conn. organizations including Caring About People, the United Way and the Bristol Chamber of Commerce.