Former Disney man Kevin Mayer has been appointed as chairman of the board of directors at sports streamer DAZN.
Mayer was a driving force behind the launch of Disney+ as the company’s chair of DTC and international, and previously led the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox as chief strategy officer. The exec departed Disney in May 2020 following the appointment of Bob Chapek as CEO, and had a brief three-month stint as boss of Chinese social video platform TikTok.
Mayer’s involvement at DAZN will come as little surprise, given his relationship with American-British billionaire Len Blavatnik who owns the streamer. Mayer was appointed as a senior media advisor to Blavatnik’s Access Industries in November 2020.
Now Mayer formally joins DAZN as its chairman, and will provide strategic direction to the company’s leadership team under co-CEOs James Rushton and Shay Segev – the former CEO of gambling giant Entain who joined the streamer in January.
Mayer said: “As chairman, I’m looking forward to partnering with the management team and my fellow directors to help DAZN build on its impressive track record of success in developing a truly global sports platform. Since I began working with Access Industries last year, I’ve been impressed with DAZN’s ambitions and ability to quickly grow from a new entrant to an important player in key markets throughout the world. I look forward to guiding DAZN’s strategic development into its next chapter.”
Blavatnik said: “As the world of sports and media continues to transform, DAZN Group remains a key holding within the Access portfolio. A seamless transition from John to Kevin and the recent move to deepen the executive team’s expertise with Co-CEOs James Rushton and Shay Segev will accelerate the company’s momentum.”
As chairman, Mayer replaces John Skipper, the former ESPN president who joined the group in 2018. Skipper will remain on the DAZN Group board and act as a strategic advisor, but will focus his efforts on newly launched content company Meadowlark Media. DAZN said that it intends to invest in and collaborate with Meadowlark on original programming projects in the future.
Skipper said: “I’m incredibly proud of what the team has accomplished over the past several years. We’ve secured rights to the world’s premier sports leagues, dramatically increased subscriptions and revenues, and launched our platform in more than 200 countries and territories.
“It’s the ideal moment to transition the company into its next phase of growth. Having worked closely with Kevin at The Walt Disney Company for more than two decades, I can’t think of a better person to lead the DAZN Group Board of Directors.”
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