Disney CTO LaBerge steps down to join PENN Entertainment

Disney Entertainment and ESPN chief technology officer Aaron LaBerge is leaving the company after two decades to join sport betting company PENN Entertainment

The Disney veteran spent more than 20 years at company in two separate stints, most recently serving as president & CTO for Disney Entertainment and ESPN. In the role, LaBerge was responsible for driving all technology and product development in support of The Walt Disney Company’s two media divisions.

The Disney tech chief played a role in Hulu’s merge with Disney+ on the streaming platform in the US and the launch of sports betting outfit ESPN Bet which is owned by Penn Entertainment through a US$1.5 billion 10-year licensing deal with the sports broadcaster.

Prior to that, LaBerge was also executive vice president and CTO at ESPN from 2015 to 2018. At the sports entertainment giant, he led the growth of ESPN’s consumer-facing digital media products and services.

At PENN, LaBerge will report to chief executive officer and president Jay Snowden. He will be tasked with driving the company’s technology strategy and execution, while leading the team of technologists and serving as the key business leader for the company’s Interactive division.

LaBerge announced his departure in a memo shared with The Walt Disney Company staff, he said: “This was a personal decision, driven by the needs of my family. I’m working with Alan, Dana, and Jimmy to plan a smooth transition, and I’ll be here until the end of June to help ensure a seamless handoff that positions everyone for continued success. I’ve never been more confident in our team and leadership. Together, we’ll navigate this change without missing a beat, continuing to build on the significant progress we’ve made over the past 15 months.”

“Chris Lawson will be working closely with me in the coming months, stepping into an interim leadership role upon my departure until a permanent leader is in place. Many of you know Chris as an exceptional technology leader with a deep understanding of our operations and businesses. He has been instrumental in our technology transformation and is a trusted partner to our business leaders,” he added.

“Disney is more than just a company to me; it’s been my home, my inspiration, and a part of the most rewarding chapters of my life, both personally and professionally. The true magic of Disney isn’t just in our stories or our technology but in each of you. Your passion, creativity, and brilliance have made my journey unforgettable.”

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