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Guardian Media Group Names Anna Bateson Interim Chief Executive After David Pemsel’s Departure

Pemsel planned to stay on until 2020 when he’d begin leading the Premier League, but he prematurely resigned amid tabloid reports on his personal life

Guardian Media Group has appointed Anna Bateson interim chief executive, according to a GMG spokesperson. She is replacing David Pemsel, who was slated to depart for the role of Premier League chief executive in 2020.

Friday, the Premier League announced Pemsel is stepping down from that high-profile role in sports two months before ever taking it after tabloids reported that he sent a barrage of messages to a female former colleague.

“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, the Premier League said in a statement. “Richard Masters will continue as Interim Chief Executive. No further comment will be made at this stage.”

When his move to the Premier League was announced in early October, the Guardian reported Pemsel would stay at the company until taking up the new job in early 2020 to replace the long-serving Richard Scudamore, who stepped down in November 2018. Bateson’s Friday appointment indicates his departure was expedited.

“As previously announced David Pemsel has resigned as chief executive of GMG. We would like to express our gratitude to David for his leadership during an extremely important period for the organisation,” the GMG spokesperson said. When asked in a follow-up email whether it was Pemsel’s choice to cut short his remaining time at GMG or for comment on reports that the alleged texts were sent to a former Guardian staffer, the spokesperson said they had “nothing to add.”

In the initial statement to TheWrap, the spokesperson lauded Bateson: “Since joining the Guardian in 2016 and taking responsibility for our brand and reader revenues in 2017, Anna has helped us achieve impressive revenue growth, while also working closely with editorial colleagues on marketing and brand activities.”

As for finding a permanent replacement for Pemsel, the spokesperson noted, “Our recruitment process for a permanent chief executive continues, and the nominations committee of the board is pleased with our progress so far. We hope to make an announcement early in the New Year.”

The original tabloid report — “Married Premier League boss accused of pestering young woman for sex” – is no longer available.

When he was originally named the new head of the Premier League, that organization praised Pemsel for his “straightforward style and personal integrity,” according to the Guardian.