Josh Krulewitz has been named ESPN Senior Vice President, Communications, and will assume leadership of ESPN’s Communications department effective Dec. 31. Krulewitz, who is a 32-year ESPN veteran, succeeds Chris LaPlaca, who retires at the end of the year after more than 43 years at ESPN, serving since 2008 as head of the department.
In his new role, Krulewitz will report to Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, ESPN, and Kristina Schake, Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Communications Officer, The Walt Disney Company.
“Josh is a dynamic, collaborative, and strategic communications leader,” said Pitaro. “I’ve worked closely with Josh for many years and have benefitted from his excellent advice during many challenging situations. I have seen him cultivate countless relationships with media and ESPN colleagues over the years, all of which will benefit him and all of us as we continue to navigate through a complex sports media environment.
“He will work closely with Disney colleagues and continue to look for ways for us to enhance our brand and reputation.”
During his time at ESPN, Krulewitz has touched nearly every aspect of the company’s business including all sports (professional, college and high school) as well as league and event agreements, network and program launches, business communications, special campaigns, issue management, government and investor relations, internal communications and more. He has advised executives, talent and employees within ESPN on everything from media and employee relations to brand building, narratives and strategy.
Krulewitz joined ESPN Communications as an intern in 1990 while an undergrad at the University of Connecticut and worked parts of 1990 and 1991 in that intern role before joining full time in July of 1992.
While at UConn, he worked all four years in Athletic Communications and he was one of only seven Honors Scholars for the Business School.
After joining ESPN as a publicist, he rose through the ranks with multiple promotions, eventually being named vice president in 2006.
Among the major successful publicity campaigns he has been involved in include the launches of ESPN2 and ESPNU, the X Games, and the SEC and ACC Networks; ESPN’s unprecedented coverage of the entire NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament; ESPN anniversary celebrations; agreements with the NFL, SEC, MLB, NBA, CFP, XFL, Wimbledon, ACC, NCAA, U.S. Open tennis and more.
He also has been part of PR campaigns and traditional media relations involving ESPN content initiatives including First Take, the ESPYS, E60, College GameDay, SportsCenter, Outside the Lines and SportsCentury.
In 2008, he was named a recipient of the Katha Quinn Award, given by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association to individuals who service members of basketball media. He also was honored with Team ESPN’s V Spirit Award, recognizing decades of volunteer efforts for The V Foundation for Cancer Research. Krulewitz also has been a leader in ESPN internal and employee initiatives.
“This one-of-a-kind role leading the world-class ESPN Communications team comes with extraordinary responsibility,” said Krulewitz. “It’s quite an honor to be trusted to represent the elite ESPN brand, collaborate with Disney, and to work alongside the most talented and dedicated colleagues around.”
Pitaro noted that LaPlaca retires as ESPN’s longest tenured behind-the-scenes employee, having begun his ESPN career in July 1980.
“Chris has played a pivotal role in virtually all major events in ESPN’s history, serving as a key strategist and spokesperson and leading the Comms group since 2008,” Pitaro said. “I’ve relied on his integrity, judgement and instincts since I arrived here, and I am incredibly grateful for all he has done for me and for ESPN.”
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