ESPN has named Laura Gentile, a 15-year veteran of the company, to the role of senior vice president of marketing. She will lead a team responsible for developing and managing all aspects of the ESPN brand across media, and focus on expanding the brand’s reach to new audiences and sports fans.
“Laura’s keen eye for marketing and her insight into our brand, given her vast experience across a number of ESPN businesses, has contributed to her being the right person at the right time to lead this important effort and dynamic group,” said Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN president and co-chair, Disney Media Networks, in a statement.
With this move, Gentile returns to her her roots at ESPN, having started her career in 2008 as director, advertising and marketing.
Since then, she’s held a variety of strategic roles at ESPN, giving her a unique purview. Most recently she served as senior vice president, business operations and content strategy, a role that included oversight of the business operations of the Content group and strategy development. Simultaneously, she continued to lead espnW and Women’s Initiatives at ESPN. She was promoted to senior vice president, espnW and Women’s Initiatives in November 2015.
Gentile was instrumental in launching espnW, ESPN’s first dedicated business built to serve women, which debuted in December 2010, which is now a multimedia business encompassing digital, social, television, films, mentorship programs and events such as The espnW: Women + Sports Summit, which kicks off on Monday, October 1.
Prior to researching and launching espnW, Gentile served as vice president, chief of staff at ESPN. In that role, she worked directly with George Bodenheimer, president, ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports, on all aspects of the division’s business. She started at ESPN in the consumer marketing department, where she was responsible for driving the marketing direction for properties including the NFL, SportsCenter, the NHL as well as ESPN25, ESPN’s year-long 25th anniversary campaign.
Gentile was named to the Forbes’ 2018 “Most Powerful Women in U.S. Sports” list, in 2017 was named one of the 2017 Multichannel News Wonder Women, and in 2016 was named a Women in Cable Television “Woman to Watch.”
Gentile was named to the Women’s Sports Foundation Advisory Panel and was a fellow of WICT’s Betsy Magness Leadership Institute Class XVII. She was named to Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal Forty Under 40 Class of 2012 and an SBJ Game-Changer.
A graduate of Duke University in 1994 with a double major in English and political science, she earned an MBA in Marketing and Organizational Behavior from Boston College’s Carroll Graduate School of Management in 1996.