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Premier League Names Susanna Dinnage Its Next Chief Executive

Category: Football,Sports

The only other female leader of one of soccer’s top leagues is Nathalie Boy de la Tour, the president of France’s Ligue de Football Professionnel. FIFA, soccer’s governing body, appointed the former United Nations official Fatma Samoura as its secretary general in 2016.

“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,” said Bruce Buck, the chairman of Chelsea F.C., who led the league’s nominations committee. Dinnage, who has been with Discovery for the past decade, most recently led Animal Planet, one of the company’s biggest channels.

The Premier League has prospered since its inception in the early 1990s on the strength of record-breaking television contracts, and as the beneficiary of bidding competitions in which cable and satellite providers around the world repeatedly drove up the price to acquire the rights to broadcast its matches. Dinnage arrives at the Premier League amid a time of great change, however; with media consumption habits changing, she will be charged with figuring out a strategy to keep the money flowing as consumption of Premier League matches — in Britain, but also in places as far afield as Bangkok and Boston — increasingly shifts to online platforms.

In two decades at the Premier League, Scudamore managed to keep the competition together amid rising tension between its richest teams — wealthy northern clubs like Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool, and the London powerhouses Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham — and the rest. The most powerful clubs’ battle for a greater slice of league revenue will most likely intensify in the coming years, as will new threats. This month, for example, leaked documents obtained by a consortium of European news media groups showed that some of the continent’s top teams, including Premier League giants like United and Liverpool, had been involved in discussions about a possible breakaway competition.

Dinnage’s tasks will also include figuring out a way of keeping the Premier League, one of Britain’s biggest international success stories, prospering if the country follows through on plans to exit the European Union. British soccer leaders, like those from most other industries, have expressed great concern about the impact of Brexit on their operations, with particular concerns about player recruitment and television rights sales.

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