The English Premier League has returned to its original shortlist featuring two UK television industry veterans in the search for its next chief executive following the surprise decision by Discovery exec Susanna Dinnage to turn down the post earlier this week, according to various UK reports.
Tim Davie (pictured left), currently CEO of BBC Studios, and Tom Betts (right), ITV’s director of corporate strategy, mergers & acquisitions, are two candidates said to be vying for the top job in English soccer, with both previously having featured on the original shortlist for the posting alongside Dinnage.
Davie has served as CEO of BBC Studios since April 2018 when BBC Worldwide merged with the BBC’s production arm to form the division. Previously, he was chief executive of BBC Worldwide and director of global from April 2013, and formerly held the title of director of BBC’s marketing, communications and audiences division when he joined the corporation in April 2005.
Meanwhile, Betts, with a near-30-year career in television, has held several senior commercial positions at ITV and currently manages all mergers & acquisitions and corporate transactions for ITV. He has overseen nearly 40 transactions in the last seven years, including ITV’s drive to expand its international content business with acquisitions and/or investments in Leftfield Entertainment, High Noon Entertainment, Thinkfactory Media, Talpa Media, and a 45% stake in Blumhouse TV.
Dinnage was expected to take up the post this month to replace outgoing executive chairman Richard Scudamore, who announced his departure in June, but decided over the Christmas period to remain in the factual industry where she has made a name for herself over a 20-year career. She will now remain with Discovery’s Animal Planet where she will continue in her current role, a spokesperson earlier confirmed to realscreen.
An official statement from the EPL concerning Dinnage’s decision on Sunday (Dec. 30) read: “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 Committee has reconvened its search and is talking to candidates. There will be no further comment until an appointment is made.”
Prior to her November 2017 appointment to lead Animal Planet, Dinnage served as president of UK/Ireland and chief content officer for Discovery Networks International, and previous to that, held several leadership roles, including as general manager of the UK and Benelux businesses.