Susanna Dinnage has abruptly pulled out of a commitment to become the Premier League’s new chief executive.
The TV executive was announced as the successor to Richard Scudamore in mid-November, with the plan that she would take up her new role early in 2019.
But a Premier League statement on Sunday evening read: “Despite her commitment to the Premier League in early November, Susanna Dinnage has now advised the nominations committee that she will not be taking up the position of chief executive.”
Dinnage joined TV giant Discovery in 2009 and Press Association Sport understands she has decided to stay on in her current role as global president of its Animal Planet brand.
Her only previous involvement in sport was when she ran Discovery’s British and Irish operation, which included responsibility for Eurosport.
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, Burnley chairman Mike Garlick and Leicester chief executive Susan Whelan led the recruitment process, with Buck describing Dinnage as “the outstanding choice” from a “very strong field” of candidates.
Dinnage said at the time: “I am excited at the prospect of taking on this fantastic role. 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.”
Dinnage’s TV experience was seen as a key asset in the current era of blockbuster rights’ deals and a diverging market. She began her career at MTV and also worked for Channel Five.
Scudamore has run English football’s top flight since 1999, but announced his intention to step down as its executive chairman earlier this year.
The Premier League has interim measures in place, but must now go back to the drawing board, and added in its statement: “The committee has reconvened its search and is talking to candidates. There will be no further comment until an appointment is made.”
The organisation is also looking for a non-executive chairman, with Scudamore’s role having been split.