Disney Tech Whizz Aaron LaBerge Appointed CTO at Penn Entertainment

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Aaron LaBerge, after proudly holding a number of high-profile technology positions in the Walt Disney Company for over two decades, has embarked on a new journey. As the newly appointed Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Penn Entertainment, LaBerge is set to change the interactive entertainment landscape.

The announcement regarding LaBerge’s appointment came via Penn just today. While speculation is rife that this switch stemmed from personal reasons, Penn has kept the focus on LaBerge’s new role, where he will directly report to Jay Snowden, Penn’s CEO and President.

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Once on board, LaBerge’s primary responsibility will be to spearhead the technology strategy and execution for PennEnt, according to a statement issued by the company. He will provide leadership to the multinational tech team and will also be the main business leader for the Interactive division of PennEnt.

This move comes at a critical time. Penn’s interactive division, which includes the ESPN Bet sports wagering mobile application, has been facing challenges in attaining profitability and securing market shares. Market estimates suggest that ESPN Bet may possibly show an unanticipated loss in first-quarter earnings. Penn is expected to disclose the financial outcome of this period on May 2.

LaBerge’s extensive experience at Disney certainly makes him an attractive hire for Penn. He dedicated more than twenty years of his career to Disney, across two roles within the media and entertainment sector. His latest stint was serving as the President and CTO for Disney Entertainment and ESPN.

His tenure at Disney included shaping the strategic vision for leveraging technology to narrate stories, drive business growth, and create outstanding entertainment and sports content for consumers.

In the recent past, LaBerge held the position of Executive Vice President and CTO of ESPN from 2015-2018. He guided the growth and development of numerous popular consumer-oriented digital content offerings by the network.

The welcoming of LaBerge to Penn has high stakes attached. With ESPN struggling to outdo its rivals in profit-driven parlays, Penn’s latest recruit may be what the company needs. His extensive background indicates that he might be the shot in the arm ESPN Bet requires.

During his term at ESPN, LaBerge played an integral role in designing, developing, and engineering ESPN’s state-of-the-art facilities in Bristol, Connecticut; Los Angeles, California; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Austin, Texas. His expertise also encompassed the design and development of technology to support the launching of the multi-platform SEC Network.

Penn will be hoping that this crucial hire will help them increase their share in the sports wagering market, drawing on LaBerge’s vast experience, industry knowledge, and technical prowess.