The woman chosen to be the English Premier League’s chief executive announced on Sunday night that she would not take up her role next month in an abrupt U-turn more than six weeks after she accepted the post. Susanna Dinnage’s announcement, made via the soccer league, did not offer a reason for her change of heart.
Several club executives who had voted in favor of her appointment said on Sunday that they were blindsided by her decision to reject the job. The Premier League’s hiring committee now “has reconvened its search and is now talking to candidates,” the organization said.
Dinnage’s appointment came at a pivotal moment for the league, which is today the most popular sports product on the planet, with games broadcast in 185 countries every week. A British executive at Discovery Inc.
and global president of Animal Planet, Dinnage was due to succeed the retiring Richard Scudamore in January, becoming the Premier League’s fourth CEO since its creation in 1992 and the first woman to hold the position.
Many owners of the league’s largest clubs were dissatisfied with how the appointment was handled, according to a person with knowledge of their thinking. In fact, the owners had no idea Dinnage was in the running until the day they were asked to vote for her confirmation, because her identity had been kept from them in the name of secrecy. Some of them are now pushing to expedite the process and avoid repeating the kind of search that landed them in this position, said the person.
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