The Premier League has confirmed the CEO of Guardian Media Group (GMG), David Pemsel has been appointed to replace Richard Scudamore as the league’s new Chief Executive. 

Having spearheaded the digital transformation of the Guardian, as the group became a more international brand, recording its first operating profits in its news business for 20 years and delivering record revenues in 2019.

Bruce Buck, Chairman of Chelsea Football Club and Chairman of the Premier League Nominations Committee which conducted the recruitment process, commented: “We are delighted to welcome David to the Premier League. His straightforward style and personal integrity make him an ideal person to lead the business.

“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. 

“We are looking forward to working with David and are sure he will be a great asset to the Premier League.

“At the same time, we would like to extend our huge appreciation to Richard Masters, who has captained the ship expertly this year as Interim Chief Executive. Richard and his team have done a great job and will continue to drive the League forward under David’s leadership.”

Pemsel expressed excitement about his new role, stating: “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.

“I have enjoyed my eight years at Guardian Media Group and want to thank everyone for their support and friendship, but now is the perfect time for me to take on the next challenge. I am really looking forward to meeting the team and working with them on the evolution of the Premier League.”

Neil Berkett, Chair of Guardian Media Group, added: “In highly turbulent times in the global media sector, David has been an outstanding Chief Executive and tireless in his pursuit of the company’s goals. Under his leadership GMG has restored its finances to a sustainable position and become a much stronger, better business. Everyone at the Guardian wishes him well and we are sure he will continue to thrive in his new role.” 

The Premier League has outlined that Pemsel will take up the role no later than April 2020, with Richard Masters continuing as Interim Chief Executive until that time and will then revert to Managing Director.

The appointment concludes the extensive search of the league after Discovery’s Susanna Dinnage and more recently, BBC’s Tim Davie declined the role. 

Having ridden a wave of momentum and maximised the growth of TV rights, replacing Scudamore is no easy task. For the league to delve into the media sector for his replacement underlines that it identifies its position within the broadcasting sector as being key.

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