EPL Names Richard Masters CEO, Ending Year-Long Search
The EPL named RICHARD MASTERS CEO, an "internal appointment that brings to an end a botched year-long search" to fill the position vacated by RICHARD SCUDAMORE, according to Siddharth Venkataramakrishnan of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Masters took the role of interim EPL CEO in November '18, "overseeing the league's operations as it launched three failed attempts" to replace Scudamore. The "stop-start recruitment effort first targeted two candidates in the television industry" -- Discovery exec SUSANNA DINNAGE and BBC Studios CEO TIM DAVIE. Both "turned down the job," with Dinnage "initially accepting the position then withdrawing with no explanation." The EPL then in October announced that former Guardian Media Group CEO DAVID PEMSEL "would take up the role." But after "revelations" about Pemsel's private life, the recruitment panel and the league's member clubs "concluded they could not proceed with his appointment." Pemsel resigned from the role "late last month." Meanwhile, Masters' "main challenge will be to maintain or increase income from the next sale of screening rights while deftly managing the competing interests and egos" of EPL club chairs (FINANCIAL TIMES, 12/12). In London, Ziegler & Lawton write Masters' appointment "brings an end to an embarrassing recruitment process." Time was "running out" for the EPL "given that negotiations on the next domestic TV deal will start next autumn and most other possible candidates would be on notice periods of six months" (LONDON TIMES, 12/13).
CHALLENGES LIE AHEAD: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Joshua Robinson writes despite the EPL's status as the "most popular sports organization in the world, the role of leading it is less public-facing than its equivalents in the major U.S. sports." The "biggest responsibilities are hawking the league's global television rights" and "herding the owners of the 20 clubs." The challenges facing Masters will include "preserving the value of English soccer's domestic television rights, which have leveled off in recent bidding cycles, and dealing with the uncertainty of Brexit" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/13).