LONDON: Discovery television executive Susanna Dinnage is to take over from Richard Scudamore as ceo of the English Premier League when he steps down at the end of the year.

Dinnage, who had been in line last year for the role of chief executive of Channel 4, was chosen by a head-hunting panel comprising Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, Leicester chief executive Susan Whelan and Burnley chairman Mike Garlick.

Other contenders are believed to have included Tom Betts, ITV’s strategy director,  and Tim Davie, who heads BBC Studios.

The appointment will instantly turn Dinnage into one of the most powerful women in sport.

Dinnage’s hard-headed style became evident last year during a dispute between the Discovery UK networks and Sky which commands a majority of the Premier League’s live action.

She has spent more than 20 years in the television industry and will be leaving her role as global president at Discovery’s Animal Planet channel. She joined Discovery in 2009, she served as general manager of the UK and Benelux businesses and then as president of UK/Ireland and chief content officer for Discovery Networks International.

Dinnage said in a statement that her new job was a “great privilege”.

She added: “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.”

Buck said: “We are very pleased to appoint such a capable leader to this important role. 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.”