Premier League land on Guardian’s Pemsel for CEO role

October 3 – The English Premier League have finally found a new chief executive following a nine-month search, with newspaper chief David Pemsel taking over from Richard Scudamore.

It was a case of third time lucky after Discovery executive Susanna Dinnage accepted the job only to change her mind weeks before she was due to start, and then BBC Studios boss Tim Davie also rejecting an offer at the start of the year.

Pemsel, who is chief executive at Guardian Media Group – owners of the Guardian and the Observer – will start his new role no later than April 2020. Richard Masters will continue as interim chief executive until then.

“The Premier League is the most-watched football league in the world and I am very excited to be a key part of that,” said Pemsel whose previous jobs have included group marketing director at the ITV, the commercial broadcaster.

“As a football fan, I understand just how important the game is to supporters and our national identity, and I am honoured to take the helm of such an influential and prestigious organisation.”

The appointment was approved by at a meeting of the league’s 20 clubs following a recommendation by the nominations committee led by Bruce Buck, the Chelsea chairman, who said Pemsel, a Chelsea fan, had “straightforward style and personal integrity”.

Pemsel, 51, began his career at the Guardian in 2011 as responsible for marketing campaigns, before moving up the ranks of the company’s commercial team. In 2015, he became the newspaper’s chief executive and oversaw a process for The Guardian to break-even and sell off external assets to leave the newspaper with a £1 billion endowment fund to support its core business.

Previously, Pemsel worked at ITV where he became group marketing director at the commercial broadcaster.

In his new role Pemsel’s biggest challenge will be to retain the value of the league’s broadcast rights in a disrupted market. A challenge others chose not to take.

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