Guardian CEO David Pemsel is moving from famine to feast with his appointment as CEO of the UK’s Premier League.
Pemsel (below), who’s made his name shifting the Guardian from life-threatening losses to an operating profit, partly through a crowd-funding operation, joins a body awash with money where salaries often have six noughts – the only point at issue is what number precedes them.
The Premier League has found it hard to find a replacement for Peter Scudamore – who left with a £5m thank you present – but Pemsel, a former adman at Ogilvy and St Luke’s – looks a better choice than the Discovery Networks executive who turned down the post after accepting it last year.
Pemsel says: “I have enjoyed my eight years at Guardian Media Group and want to thank everyone for their support and friendship, but now is the perfect time for me to take on the next challenge.”
Guardian editor-in-chief Katharine Viner says: “We were appointed to our roles within a month of each other in 2015 and we’ve worked closely together ever since on the organisation’s strategy and direction. It’s been stressful, demanding – and a lot of fun.
“Despite the many tough decisions we’ve had to take, David has always understood the integral place of Guardian and Observer journalism in our business.”
UK journalism has a lot to thank Pemsel for although the Guardian, like other print titles, isn’t out of the woods yet. But its new funding model gives it a chance and Pemsel also managed to oversee some quite radical cost-cutting without ever appearing an axeman.
Dealing with the fractious barons of the Premier League will be a different challenge entirely. He will also have to manage a more complicated broadcast landscape as newbies like Amazon try to increase their footprint in English football.
The only certainty seems to be that the money will keep flowing.