Premier League resumes CEO search following Dinnage’s shock exit

The Premier League is scrambling to appoint a successor to outgoing CEO Richard Scudamore after Discovery exec Susanna Dinnage pulled out of the top job over the holidays.

Almost two months after being appointed CEO of the Premier League, Dinnage made a sudden U-turn on her decision last week, citing a change of heart.

While the Premier League is currently being overseen by acting chief executive Richard Masters and interim chair Claudia Arney, it is believed that BBC Studios boss Tim Davie and ITV director of strategy Tom Betts – who were on the original shortlist of candidates – are once again in the running for the CEO role.

Davie has been with the BBC since 2005, when he joined as director of marketing, communications and audience, before moving to oversee audio and music. He was appointed head of BBC Worldwide in 2012.

The exec, who temporarily held the director general role after George Entwistle’s 2012 resignation, has also been tipped as a potential successor to current DG Tony Hall.

Meanwhile, Betts began his career at Carlton Television in the early 1990s and has steadily risen the ranks at Granada and ITV. He is currently responsible for all M&A for the ITV Group, having overseen nearly 30 deals over the last five years, including the acquisition of Talpa Media in 2015.

The Premier League is believed to have resumed interviewing for the job.

Dinnage last week informed the organisation’s board that she will not take up the position, which was due to start early this year. She will instead remain at Discovery, where she most recently served as global president of Animal Planet.

The Premier League said in a statement early Sunday evening (30 December) that “Despite her commitment to the Premier League in early November, Susanna Dinnage has now advised the nominations committee that she will not be taking up the position of chief executive. The committee has reconvened its search and is talking to candidates.”

Dinnage would have been the first female leader in the history of the league – one of the most high-profile tournaments in the world due to lucrative TV deals.

It is believed that her change of heart came after weeks of reflecting on the position, which would have seen the exec – a veteran of Discovery, Channel 5 and MTV – leave the broadcasting world after more than 20 years.

An exact start date for Dinnage had not yet been confirmed.