Penn Entertainment taps Disney/ESPN exec as chief technology officer

April 22, 2024 8:27 PM
  • Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports
April 22, 2024 8:27 PM

Penn Entertainment has hired a longtime Walt Disney Company employee as its next chief technology officer.

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Aaron LaBerge Monday was introduced as Penn’s new CTO, subject to regulatory approvals. LaBerge, who will report directly to Penn CEO and President Jay Snowden, will be responsible for driving the company’s technology. He previously worked at Walt Disney Company for more than two decades over two different stints.

“Having overseen a global organization of thousands of engineers, product developers, designers, technologists, and data scientists that created some of the largest-scale and most successful media properties in the world, there is no better candidate to lead our Technology and Interactive division into its future,” said Snowden in a statement. “I know Aaron is looking forward to working with Todd George, our head of operations, and our entire executive team to continue growing our position as a leader in online gaming, sports betting, and digital sports media.”

LaBerge was most recently president and chief technology officer for Disney Entertainment and ESPN, responsible for all technology and product development in support of the Walt Disney Company’s two media divisions.

Penn last year announced a licensing deal with ESPN for sports betting through ESPN Bet.

“PENN Entertainment is at the forefront of the fast-changing gaming and sports media industry,” said LaBerge. “ I plan to use my experience from Disney and ESPN to help make ESPN BET an essential piece of the sports fan experience. Together, we’ll push the limits and redefine how fans interact with sports and gaming.”

Prior to his most recent role with Disney, LaBerge was ESPN’s executive vice president and chief technology officer from 2015 to 2018, where he was responsible for the company’s consumer-facing digital-media products and services. He also was a key architect in the design, development, and engineering of ESPN’s state-of-the-art facilities in Bristol, Connecticut, Los Angeles, California, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Austin, Texas, as well as data centers and infrastructure connecting those facilities around the world.

Between 2007 and 2012, LaBerge was co-founder and CEO of Fanzter, Inc., a venture-funded consumer-software and digital-product development company.