Incoming Premier League chief executive Susanna Dinnage has decided not to take up her role with the organisation, sparking a hasty search for a new successor to the post.
The top division of English football made the announcement, just over a month after confirming Dinnage as the first female to hold the position, that the Animal Planet global president has elected to withdraw her candidacy.
Originally scheduled to replace the outgoing Richard Scudamore, the league’s nominations committee has now been reconvened to find a new figure to fill the role.
“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,” a Premier League statement read.
“The Committee has reconvened its search and is talking to candidates. There will be no further comment until an appointment is made.”
Dinnage, who has been with the Discovery network, the owners of Animal Planet, since 2009, had been set to assume her new role early in the new year.
At the time, she said: “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.”
Upon her appointment, Nominations Committee chairman Bruce Buck had added: “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.
“She is a leading figure in the broadcasting industry, a proven business executive and a great developer of people. She is ideally suited to the role and we are confident she will be able to take the Premier League on to new heights.”
BBC and Sky Sports have both reported Dinnage will instead remain in her role at Discovery.
A season-ticket holder at Fulham, Dinnage originally ran the company’s British operations, including heading up the Eurosport channel and overseeing their acquisition of coverage rights for the Olympic and Winter Olympic Games.
She was also a leading contender in 2017 to assume the chief executive role at Channel 4.