Sir Gary Verity Premier League Chief Executive Candidate
Sir Gary Verity, the man who brought the Tour De France to Yorkshire in 2014 is the surprise candidate for the vacant Premier League chief executive job. The businessman has been chief executive of tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire for the last ten years during which time he has used sport to promote England’s largest county.
As well as the 2014 Grand Depart in Yorkshire, Verity has played a key role in setting up the annual Tour de Yorkshire bike race, the Leeds stage of the 2016 World Triathlon Series and cycling’s 2019 Road World Championships. Knighted in 2015 for services to tourism and the success of Grand Depart, the Leeds fan has also been a director at Yorkshire County Cricket Club and owns a sheep farm in the Yorkshire Dales.
The Premier League has been looking for a new chief executive since Richard Scudamore announced his intention to stand down after nearly twenty years in charge last summer. In November, Susanna Dinnage was named as Scudamore’s replacement but she stunned the league shortly after Christmas by saying she had reconsidered and no longer wanted the job. Since then the BBC Studios boss Tim Davie is understood to have said he was not interested in being second choice.
It is not known if ITV’s director of strategy Tom Betts also turned the league down but it is known that the recruitment process has been reopened. It is understood that a new list includes UKTV chief executive Darren Childs and ex-YouView boss Richard Halton, while some club bosses want the league to approach Gavin Patterson, who has just stepped down as chief executive of BT, or former Channel 5 boss Dawn Airey.
At the start of the process, the clubs believed the new chief executive should have a strong understanding of the changing media landscape, as last year’s auction of the 2019-22 domestic broadcasting rights failed to bring in the huge uplift in revenue the league has grown used to. Verity’s lack of experience in this area makes him an outside candidate at this stage, but his proven ability to work with sports governing bodies and government could make him more attractive if the league cannot find a candidate for the job.
The Premier League, however is not the only major player in the game looking for a new leader as Thursday is the closing date for applications to replace Martin Glenn as the Football Association’s chief executive.