Premier League broadens search for new CEO

The Premier League has reportedly widened its search for a new chief executive beyond the broadcasting sector amid confidence it has enough in-house experience in this field.

The Financial Times newspaper, citing several people close to the process, said the English football competition’s new recruitment partner to deliver a successor to Richard Scudamore, Russell Reynolds, has been asked to create a new shortlist looking beyond television executives to target candidates with experience leading big businesses.

The search is now said to focus on general management skills, with Russell Reynolds looking for a “politician type” who could broker deals between the League’s 20 clubs and represent the competition to regulators in the UK and Europe.

In June, management consulting firm Russell Reynolds was hired to replace rival Spencer Stuart amid the drawn-out search to find a replacement for Scudamore. In December, the Premier League said it would move quickly to appoint a new chief executive, after Susanna Dinnage revealed she would not be taking up the role as previously announced.

Dinnage, who was confirmed as the replacement for Scudamore in November last year, shocked the league on December 30, when she advised the nominations committee that she had reversed her decision, opting instead to remain with broadcast group Discovery, where she is the global president of Animal Planet.

In May, the Premier League appointed Josh Smith to the role of global head of media sales. Smith currently serves as director of television services at football’s world governing body Fifa and will take up his new role at the Premier League at the beginning of October.

Smith’s appointment is said to satisfy the need for experienced media executives within the Premier League hierarchy. An update on the chief executive recruitment process is set to be provided at the League’s shareholder meeting later this month.