ESPN Names Raina Kelley as VP, Editor-in-Chief for The Undefeated

Following the departure of Kevin Merida from ESPN’s multimedia initiative, The Undefeated, Raina Kelley has been promoted to the Vice President and Editor-in-Chief role.  

What’s Happening:

  • Raina Kelley, managing editor of The Undefeated has been promoted to Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of the ESPN multimedia initiative.
  • Kelley will be responsible for the editorial direction and oversight for The Undefeated.
  • She succeeds Kevin Merida who launched the project five years ago, and will report to Mark Walker, Senior Vice President, Content Business Development and Innovation.
  • As Merida’s first hire for The Undefeated’s senior management team, Kelley has been instrumental in the platform’s growth and helped steer The Undefeated’s content expansion across The Walt Disney Company unit via the “Music For The Movement” series.
  • She leads ESPN’s Black History Always initiative powered by The Undefeated that highlights the contributions of African Americans through long- and short-form storytelling across media platforms.

What They’re Saying:

  • Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, ESPN and Sports Content: “Raina is a committed, collaborative and creative presence who has been part of the visionary leadership for this platform from the start. We know The Undefeated will continue to thrive with Raina in this role.”
  • Raina Kelley: “Kevin has been an outstanding leader, an amazing teacher and mentor to our team. I assume this responsibility knowing he has left behind a brilliant team of creative minds at The U that will continue this vision well into the future.”

About Raina Kelley:

  • Kelley has served as deputy editor at ESPN The Magazine, where she was a leading driver of ESPN’s long-form journalism across different platforms.
  • She joined ESPN in May 2011 as a senior editor at ESPN The Magazine, responsible for the publication’s coverage of the National Football League, tennis, action sports, the Olympics and ESPN Enterprise Unit.
  • She was part of the senior editorial leadership team responsible for successfully merging ESPN’s print and digital content units under one umbrella.
  • A Yale University graduate, Kelley was a writer for Newsweek magazine where she penned a column on American culture, usually centered on issues of race, gender and politics for the magazine, and Newsweek/Daily Beast.
  • She joined Newsweek in 2003 as an associate editor and left as a staff writer in 2011.