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David Pemsel steps down as Premier League chief executive before starting role

David Pemsel steps down as Premier League chief executive before starting role
© Reuters
Pemsel had been due to take up the position in February.

David Pemsel has resigned as the Premier League’s incoming chief executive following “media disclosures” about his private life.

Pemsel was due to start work in February but has now withdrawn from the role following allegations in a newspaper concerning text messages sent to a former colleague.

Richard Masters, who had been due to revert to his post as managing director, will continue as interim chief executive.

A statement from the Premier League read: “Following media disclosures earlier this week and discussions with David Pemsel, the Premier League has today accepted David’s resignation and he will no longer be joining as chief executive. No further comment will be made at this stage.”

Pemsel’s resignation has left the Premier League looking for its third boss in little more than a year, first choice Susanna Dinnage having decided to remain at media organisation Discovery.

It was only last month that the organisation announced Pemsel would join from the Guardian Media Group. It had hoped his strong broadcasting background, having also served as marketing director at ITV before moving to the Guardian, would help it continue to thrive in a changing media environment.

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, who was involved in the recruitment process, at the time praised the 51-year-old’s “straightforward style and personal integrity”.

David Pemsel's appointment was announced in October
David Pemsel’s appointment was announced in October (Handout/PA)

When he was appointed, Pemsel, a Chelsea fan who was credited with transforming the fortunes of the Guardian and returning the group to profit in its news business for the first time in 20 years in 2019, had described himself as “thrilled” and “excited” to be joining the Premier League.

He said he was “honoured to take the helm of such an influential and prestigious organisation”.

The Premier League’s long-serving executive chairman Richard Scudamore, who drove its huge commercial success over the last 20 years, helping secure a series of lucrative domestic and overseas television deals, announced his intention to stand down as long ago as June 2018.

However, after two ill-fated appointments, the position remains embarrassingly vacant.

Susanna Dinnage opted against joining the Premier League
Susanna Dinnage opted against joining the Premier League (Handout/PA)

Dinnage, the global president of the Animal Planet channel, was the first chosen candidate last November following a global headhunting process. She stepped down less than two months later citing a change of heart, opting to return to her old post.

BBC Studios chief executive Tim Davie was in January also reported to have turned down the opportunity.

Pemsel will also not be continuing in his role at the Guardian Media Group, who confirmed the appointment of Anna Bateson as interim chief executive.

A spokesperson said: “We would like to express our gratitude to David for his leadership during an extremely important period for the organisation.”

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