The English Premier League has ended its lengthy search for a new chief executive by announcing the arrival of David Pemsel, currently the chief executive of Guardian Media Group, owner of The Guardian newspaper.
The 51-year-old Pemsel will take up his position “no later than April 2020”, the Premier League said, after his candidacy was unanimously approved at a special meeting of shareholders today (Wednesday).
Broadcast executive Susanna Dinnage had been confirmed last year as the replacement for executive chairman Richard Scudamore, but reversed her decision to accept the role and stayed on at Discovery, where she is global president of the Animal Planet channel.
Ahead of Pemsel’s arrive, Richard Masters will continue as interim chief executive before reverting to the position of managing director.
Pemsel, the former group marketing director at ITV, the UK commercial broadcaster, joined Guardian Media Group in 2011 and was promoted to the chief executive position in the middle of 2015.
The Premier League said that he has “led the company’s transformation into a more digital, more international media brand and has overseen the organisation’s first operating profits in its news business for 20 years, delivering record revenues in 2019.”
Bruce Buck, the Chelsea chairman and chairman of the Premier League Nominations Committee, said that Pemsel’s “straightforward style and personal integrity make him an ideal person to lead the business”.
Buck added: “At the Guardian, he has shown strong leadership through a period of change and transformation. Returning the group to profit is an impressive achievement and has demonstrated that he can develop and execute a transformational plan in an ever-changing business landscape. In addition, he has worked with the big players in digital and media and has managed diverse groups and constituencies.”
Pemsel remarked: “I am thrilled to have been offered this incredible opportunity. The Premier League is the most-watched football league in the world and I am very excited to be a key part of that. 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.”
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.