TV executive Susanna Dinnage is to succeed Richard Scudamore as the new chief executive of the Premier League.
Ms Dinnage, the global president of Discovery’s Animal Planet channel, will become head of the world’s richest football league when she takes over from Mr Scudamore early next year.
In a statement, she said: “I am excited at the prospect of taking on this fantastic role.
“The Premier League means so much to so many people. It represents the pinnacle of professional sport and the opportunity to lead such a dynamic and inspirational organisation is a great privilege.”
Ms Dinnage, who was not one of the mooted front-runners for Mr Scudamore’s position, has spent more than 20 years working in television, starting at MTV and also working at Channel Five.
She has been at Discovery since 2009, including a spell running its British and Irish division where she had responsibility for Eurosport.
Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck led the league’s five-person Nominations Committee, tasked with recommending a preferred candidate to a meeting of Premier League clubs this month.
On Tuesday, he told a hastily-arranged meeting of Premier League chiefs, many taking part via conference call, that Ms Dinnage was the panel’s choice.
In a statement, Mr Buck said: “We are very pleased to appoint such a capable leader to this important role.
“We had a very strong field, but Susanna was the outstanding choice given her track record in managing complex businesses through transformation and digital disruption.
“She is a leading figure in the broadcasting industry, a proven business executive and a great developer of people. She is ideally suited to the role and we are confident she will be able to take the Premier League on to new heights.”
Football Association chairman Greg Clarke said: “The FA and the Premier League have a strong and successful relationship and we look forward to building on that under Susanna’s new leadership. As part of the selection process the FA was required to ratify the appointment – and the FA Board was unanimous.”
Mr Scudamore, who announced he was leaving his post after 19 years in June, has combined the roles of chairman and chief executive since 2014.
The Premier League is now expected to begin looking for a new non-executive chairman.
Mr Scudamore, who leaves at the end of the year, said the league will continue to attract fans around the world under “new and re-invigorated leadership”.
During his time running the league, he negotiated record-breaking TV deals for the clubs, currently totalling £2.8bn in global rights.
The league’s domestic and overseas TV rights sales are currently double that of Germany’s Bundesliga.