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Dinnage pulls out of commitment to become PL CEO

TCA Summer Event 2018

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 26: Global President, Animal Planet, Susanna Dinnage speaks onstage during the Animal Planet portion of the Discovery Communications Summer TCA Event 2018 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 26, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Discovery, Inc.)

Getty Images for Discovery, Inc.

LONDON (AP) The Premier League says its new chief executive has pulled out of the job before even taking up the position.

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The league issued a statement on Sunday saying broadcasting executive Susanna Dinnage has changed her mind about succeeding Richard Scudamore in running the world’s richest soccer competition, despite being hired for the job in November.

The statement said: “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.”

The short statement gave no reason for the abrupt turnaround but said the search committee “has reconvened its search and is talking to candidates. There will be no further comment until an appointment is made.”

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Dinnage was set to become the most powerful female executive in global sports after agreeing to leave her role as global president of Discovery’s Animal Planet brand early next year to succeed Scudamore. It was unclear whether she would now stay on in her old role at Discovery.

When accepting the job in November, Dinnage said she was “excited at the prospect of taking on this fantastic role” and described the Premier League as “the pinnacle of professional sport.” She said that “the opportunity to lead such a dynamic and inspirational organization is a great privilege.”

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Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, who had helped lead the recruitment process, described Dinnage as “the outstanding choice” from a “very strong field” of candidates.

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.