The Premier League has appointed Guardian Media boss David Pemsel as its new chief executive following a nine-month search.
The decision comes after TV executive Susanna Dinnage announced she would not be taking the job last December, having being chosen to replace Richard Scudamore.
Mr Scudmore retired in November after nearly 20 years in the role, before controversially receiving a £5m "golden goodbye" bonus paid for by the 20 top flight clubs.
Mr Pemsel, currently chief executive of the Guardian Media Group, will start his job "no later than April 2020", the Premier League said.
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, who led the recruitment committee, said Mr Pemsel's "straightforward style and personal integrity make him an ideal person to lead the business".
Mr Pemsel said he was "thrilled" to be appointed chief executive of "the most-watched football league in the world".
He added: "As a football fan, I understand just how important the game is to supporters and our national identity and I am honoured to take the helm of such an influential and prestigious organisation.
Finally, the Premier League has its path plotted. Susanna Dinnage had second thoughts, Tim Davie wasn’t interested, but David Pemsel has been appointed as the new chief executive – Richard Scudamore’s successor – and will begin work no later than April 2020.
"His straightforward style and personal integrity make him an ideal person to lead the business. At the Guardian, he has shown strong leadership through a period of change and transformation."
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck’s welcoming comments very deliberately made reference to change and transformation. In the past, the Premier League has been a reactive organisation. Very obviously so, given that its entire premise was adapted from America. Now, it finds itself behind the curve again, watching on as the rest of the world’s sporting properties evolve.
The NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL have all adapted to the streaming age, while Australia’s NRL has also followed suit. But the Premier League continues to have its horizons limited by the Saturday blackout and, by its own design, through its longstanding relationship with satellite broadcasters.
The past weekend offered a reminder of how limiting some of the Premier League’s tendencies now look. With three games kicking off simultaneously at 2pm on Sunday, only one was available to watch inside the UK. It was Chelsea’s game with Southampton or nothing and, in 2019 and with two of the country’s best-supported sides playing in the dark, that’s mildly ridiculous.
This, presumbaly, will be one of Pemsel’s primary objectives. It's a process which has begun, with Amazon having become the first streaming service to acquire a portion of the domestic rights package, but only in a relatively token way. Digital season tickets and viewer-specific fixtures: that’s the future, and English football has been too slow to embrace it. The task is to outfit the league in such a way that it speaks to younger generations, the future fans who've never known anything other than Netflix and Hulu.
Pemsel may not have been the first choice to lead the Premier League's post-Scudamore era, but those who have been approached have all had vaguely similar CVs. Dinnage made her name in television: she was and remains the Global President of Animal Planet. Davie is a former Director General of the BBC and currently the CEO of BBC Studios. The nets are in these waters for good reason; this is the frontier - the need was for someone who understands how to adjust to changing trends and habits.