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ESPN Promotes Pagano to CTO

Chuck Pagano, who was hired as a technical director for ESPN’s launch 32 years ago, has been named to the new position of Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer at the sports network. Pagano was the 25th employee to join the network when it launched in 1979.

“Chuck’s technical expertise is second to none,” said George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN and ABC Sports. “To ensure that we are capitalizing on all opportunities across the technology spectrum, I have asked Chuck to take on an expanded strategic role that will leverage his unique combination of experience, expertise and intellectual curiosity. I am pleased to recognize Chuck for his efforts in pushing technological advancement across our ever-expanding array of platforms.”

In his new role, Pagano will lead all of ESPN’s core technical functions and operations including distribution, transmission, engineering, IT, software development, technology innovation and strategic technology forecasting across all areas of the company. He will also take on an even more visible and impactful role in major technology initiatives across ESPN and the broader Disney enterprise.

“I am excited to keep exploring new ways to help advance the company through the use of new and different technological applications,” said Pagano. “Having been here prior to the first telecast in 1979, I have seen this company grow and change, but the one constant has always been to embrace new technology to better serve our fans.”

Under Pagano’s leadership, the technology team has received numerous technology awards, including being honored by “Fast Company” in 2010 and 2011 in its list of Top Innovative Companies. His group is credited with developing the first 3D network in the United States, ESPN 3D, which launched last year.

In addition, Pagano has expanded ESPN’s push to the West coast when the company opened its new Los Angeles Production Center—the world’s first 1080p HD facility in April 2009. His emerging technology team was also recognized that year with a Sports Emmy for its Virtual Playbook application, an augmented reality which is achieved by integrating EA SPORTS’ customized video games into ESPN’s studio environment. Pagano was the key driver in the creation of ESPN’s Bristol-based Digital Center, one of the most technically sophisticated television production facilities in the world which helped the push the production of the network’s early high definition services, ESPN HD and ESPN2 HD.

Previously, Pagano was named to the created post of executive vice president, technology in 2005 after having served as the senior vice president, technology, engineering and operations (1999 – 2005), where he led his department and oversaw engineering, operations, facilities and new technology. Prior to that he was the senior vice president of engineering and technology from 1995 to 1999 where his duties included spearheading ESPN’s technology-related strategic planning. Other positions he has held during his tenure at ESPN include: vice president, engineering project development (1994-95); director, operations and engineering project development (1992-94) and manager, engineering project development (1989-92). He served as a systems engineer from 1983-89. He joined ESPN in August 1979 as a technical director. Prior to joining ESPN, Pagano worked for WFSB-TV in Hartford, Connecticut as a technician (1977-79).

Pagano was honored as one of four "technology wonks" in The Sporting News' 2003 “Power 100" rankings. Also in 2003, he was awarded SportsTV Production Magazine’s All-Star Award as recognition for his leadership and excellence in sports television production and technology. In 2004, Pagano was awarded the “Technology Leadership” award from Broadcasting and Cable Magazine as recognition for his many contributions to sports television production and high definition television (HDTV) technology rollout, implementation, and planning. In late 2004, Pagano was also bestowed with the honor of being named as one of the honorees in the 2004 CableFAX 100, profiling top cable industry influences.

Pagano once again received an honor from The Sporting News’ “Power 100” list in 2006, coming in at 90.

A native of Waterbury, Conn., Pagano received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering in 1984 and a Master of Science degree in organizational psychology in 2007, both from the University of Hartford. He currently serves on the Board of Regents at the University of Hartford as well as on the Board of Advisers for the College of Engineering and the Tunxis Community College Foundation Board in Farmington, Conn.