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Disney chief tech officer Aaron LaBerge exits for betting firm Penn Entertainment

Disney Entertainment and ESPN’s chief technology officer Aaron LaBerge is leaving the media giant in June to join sports betting company Penn Entertainment.

Aaron LaBerge (photo via CC)

LaBerge, who will also serve as chief technology officer at Pennsylvania-headquartered Penn Entertainment, has played a key role in Disney’s various streaming initiatives, including its recent move to integrate Hulu and Disney+ into a single app.

He also oversaw the launch of sports streamer ESPN+ and the upcoming joint-venture sports streamer from Disney, Fox and Warner Bros Discovery.

Disney has partnered with Penn previously on the ESPN Bet sports betting platform, which launched in 17 states in November and has since expanded into several others.

LaBerge’s departure, announced to staff in a memo from Disney Entertainment co-chairmen Dana Walden and Alan Bergman and ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro, was a “personal decision,” according to the execs.

Chris Lawson, executive VP of content operations for Disney Entertainment and ESPN, is set to assume the role on an interim basis. The company has started the search for a new chief technology officer.

“We want to thank Aaron for the contributions he has made and the leadership he has provided at Disney over his 20 years,” said Walden, Bergman and Pitaro in the memo.

“It is a silver lining that he will continue to help Disney and ESPN win as he transitions to a role at Penn Entertainment – where he will be a key partner in the continued growth and success of ESPN Bet (and the rest of their Interactive business).”

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