(Reuters) - David Pemsel was handed the daunting task of maintaining the English Premier League’s domination over its European rivals when he was named as its new Chief Executive on Wednesday.
The appointment of Pemsel, CEO of Guardian Media Group (GMG), was approved at a shareholders’ meeting.
Pemsel, credited with turning around the fortunes of GMG during his eight years at the helm, is set to join the league before April 2020 with interim Chief Executive Richard Masters taking up the Managing Director role.
The Premier League has been seeking a new CEO since Richard Scudamore announced in June last year he was stepping down after 20 years in which he turned it into a money-making machine.
"I am thrilled to have been offered this incredible opportunity," Pemsel said in a statement here
“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 how important the game is to supporters and our national identity and am honoured to take the helm of such an influential and prestigious organisation.”
Susanna Dinnage, the global president for Animal Planet at media organisation Discovery Inc, was initially named as a replacement in November last year before she changed her mind and turned down the offer a month later.
On Scudamore’s watch, the Premier League became the richest soccer league in the world through a series of record-breaking domestic and overseas broadcasting deals.
According to Deloitte’s 2019 Football Money League, a record six Premier League clubs featured in the top 10 with three others, Everton, West Ham United and Newcastle United in the top 20 despite not being involved in the lucrative Champions League.
Years of soaring inflation in domestic rights revenues ended, however, with the current deal (2019-22) in which Sky is paying 3.58 billion pounds ($4.39 billion) to show 128 matches a season — a fall of 16% per game on the previous deal.
On the plus side, record-breaking overseas broadcasting deals took the whole package to 9.2 billion pounds.
Pemsel’s job will be to maintain the Premier League’s financial clout in a changing market which has seen the emergence of online sites such as Amazon.
Amazon will show all this season’s Boxing Day clashes free to members on its Prime streaming service.
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, who is also the chairman of the Premier League Nominations Committee, welcomed Pemsel’s appointment. “We are delighted to welcome David to the Premier League,” he said. “His straightforward style and personal integrity make him an ideal person to lead the business.”
($1 = 0.8147 pounds)
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris and Christian Radnedge