Richard Scudamore’s Premier League CEO replacement named as Discovery’s Dinnage

Richard Scudamore’s Premier League CEO replacement named as Discovery’s Dinnage
English soccer's top flight still to appoint new chairman after splitting Scudamore's current role.

Susanna Dinnage, the Global President of the Discovery-owned Animal Planet brand, has been appointed to replace Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore at the helm of English soccer’s top flight.

Prior to joining Discovery in January 2009, Dinnage held a number of senior roles, including more than ten years at Channel Five, where she played a key role in the launch of the network and its digital extensions. Prior to that, she began her career at MTV Networks, working on the launch of a number of MTV and VH1 channels.

For the last four years, Scudamore has combined the roles of Chief Executive and Executive Chairman, but the two roles are now to be split, with the latter still to be named.

Dinnage said of her appointment: “The Premier League means so much to so many people. It represents the pinnacle of professional sport and the opportunity to lead such a dynamic and inspirational organisation is a great privilege.

“With the support of clubs and the team, I look forward to extending the success of the League for many years to come.”

Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck, who chairs the Premier League’s nominations committee, added: “We had a very strong field, but Susanna was the outstanding choice given her track record in managing complex businesses through transformation and digital disruption.”

He explained: “She is a leading figure in the broadcasting industry, a proven business executive and a great developer of people. She is ideally suited to the role and we are confident she will be able to take the Premier League on to new heights.”

Discovery Networks International President and Chief Executive JB Perrette said: “Susanna has been a terrific leader for Discovery over the last ten years. She has a strong understanding of brands and running diverse media businesses both in the UK and more recently with Animal Planet globally.

“She has been a fantastic teammate for all of us at Discovery and we are delighted that she has been given this unique and ground-breaking opportunity to lead one of the world’s pre-eminent sports organisations.”

Dinnage, who was reportedly close to landing the role as Channel 4’s Chief Executive in 2017, previously impressed Premier League executives during negotiations between Discovery and Sky.

In January 2017, she attacked Sky for not paying a “fair price” to carry Discovery’s channels.

She accused the pay-TV broadcaster of taking advantage of its position in the market. She said: “We believe Sky is using what we consider to be its dominant market position to further its own commercial interest over those of viewers and independent broadcasters. The vitality of independent broadcasters like Discovery and plurality in TV is under threat.”

She made a public threat to withdraw Discovery’s programming from Sky if a fairer deal could not be reached, before agreeing a new contract shortly afterwards.

Dinnage will replace Scudamore when he steps down from his role at the end of 2018 and a date has been agreed between the Premier League and Discovery.

Scudamore, 58, who was appointed to lead the Premier League in November 1999, has played a key role in driving its growth both in the UK and globally.

The search which lead to Dinnage’s appointment has been spearheaded by headhunters Spencer Stuart, which has been reporting to a five-person panel led by Buck.

Speaking about his decision to relinquish his position in June, Scudamore cited a desire to spend more time with his family and watch more of his childhood club Bristol City.

“It’s an absolute privilege to have been allowed to enjoy this role for so long, it is too much fun to be called a job,” he said. “Football is an intoxicating environment and therefore difficult to give up being so involved, but my passion for what football means to so many and the positive impact it can make will never diminish.”

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