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Guardian chief executive David Pemsel to leave publisher for Premier League

Guardian Media Group chief executive David Pemsel is leaving the news publisher after eight years to join the Premier League.

Pemsel will take up the same role at the top tier football organisation after helping to turn the Guardian’s finances around.

Guardian News and Media, the core news business of GMG, broke even this year after a three-year turnaround plan which saw the number of regular readers to the Guardian’s platforms increase by 40 per cent.

Pemsel, 51, was a key figure leading the strategy alongside Guardian editor-in-chief Katharine Viner.

He said today: “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.

“I am really looking forward to meeting the team and working with them on the evolution of the Premier League.”

GMG chairman Neil Berkett said: “In highly turbulent times in the global media sector, David has been an outstanding chief executive and tireless in his pursuit of the company’s goals.

“Under his leadership GMG has restored its finances to a sustainable position and become a much stronger, better business.”

Pemsel will join the Premier League no later than April next year. His appointment was unanimously approved by shareholders at a special meeting today.

A Guardian spokesperson said the GMG board would oversee the recruitment process for a new chief executive.

Premier League Nominations Committee Bruce Buck said Pemsel’s return of the Guardian to profit was an “impressive achievement” that “demonstrated that he can develop and execute a transformational plan in an ever-changing business landscape”.

GMG made a pre-tax profit of £31m for 2018/19, up from a pre-tax loss of £25m the year before.

GNM said 55 per cent of its revenues are now digital, with “good growth” in digital advertising, digital subscriptions and reader contributions. Digital revenues overtook print for the first time in 2017/18.

The group is targeting 2m paid supporters by 2022 and financial sustainability in its new three-year strategy.

Picture: Premier League

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