David Pemsel, the Premier League’s incoming chief executive, has resigned before starting the job, following newspaper disclosures about his private life.
A statement from the Premier League said: “Following media disclosures earlier this week and discussions with David Pemsel, the Premier League has today accepted David’s resignation and he will no longer be joining as chief executive.”
The former Guardian Media Group chief executive was announced as the long-awaited successor to Richard Scudamore in early October after a drawn-out recruitment search. He was the third person to be offered the job after former Discovery executive Susanna Dinnage went back on a decision to accept it and Tim Davie, a senior executive with UK public-service broadcaster BBC, also turned it down.
Pemsel is currently serving his notice at the Guardian Media Group and had been due to take up the Premier League role at the end of February.
However The Sun yesterday reported that he had been involved in an inappropriate text exchange with a former colleague.
Reports indicate Premier League executives spent most of Thursday seeking to clarify the truth of the allegations and held crisis talks to decide how to deal with the story.
Pemsel’s resignation means the Premier League is no closer to finding a replacement for Scudamore nearly 18 months after he announced he was stepping down.
The troubled recruitment process has been managed by the Premier League’s nominations committee led by Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck with help from Leicester City chief executive Susan Whelan and Burnley chairman Mike Garlick. In June, the committee hired management consulting firm Russell Reynolds to replace rival Spencer Stuart owing to the problems with the search.
At the time of Pemsel’s appointment Buck said that Pemsel’s “straightforward style and personal integrity make him an ideal person to lead the business”.
The statement indicated the Premier League’s director of sales and marketing, Richard Masters, will continue as interim chief executive.