The English Premier League named Animal Planet global president Susanna Dinnage as its new chief executive on Tuesday.
In June, the league’s executive chairman Richard Scudamore announced he was stepping down after leading English soccer’s top tier for more than 20 years. Scudamore will leave at the end of the year. While Dinnage takes over as chief executive, the EPL will search for a non-executive chair, effectively sharing the duties that Scudamore held by himself.
“We are very pleased to appoint such a capable leader to this important role,” said Bruce Buck, Chairman of Chelsea and the Premier League’s Nominations Committee. “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.”
Dinnage was named global president of Animal Planet last year, after serving as president of Discovery UK. .and Ireland, as well as chief content officer for Discovery Networks International. In that role, Dinnage managed Discovery’s portfolio of U.K. channels, including Discovery Channel, TLC, Quest, Quest Red and the sports network Eurosport.
“Susanna has been a terrific leader for Discovery over the last 10 years,” said JB Perrette, president and CEO, Discovery Networks International. “She has a strong understanding of brands and running diverse media businesses both in the UK and more recently with Animal Planet globally.”
Dinnage will begin in early 2019, a date to be agreed with her current employer, Discovery Inc.
“I am excited at the prospect of taking on this fantastic role,” said Dinnage. “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 organization 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.”
With clubs including Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool, the English Premier League is the world’s most popular soccer league. NBC Sports has made the league is major part of its sports programming, having aired it since 2013. After first signing a three-year, $250 million deal, NBC doubled down on the EPL with a six-year, $1 billion deal in 2015 that runs through at 2022.