BLACK Cats’ chief executive Margaret Byrne has given business bosses an insight into the highs and lows of life in football’s top flight.
The Sunderland AFC chief was guest speaker at an Institute of Directors (IoD) lunch event at the Evolve Business Centre, Rainton Bridge.
Northern Ireland-born Margaret talked about her life as a solicitor before joining the Premier League side as club secretary, a position in which she was involved in a range of activities, including player negotiations.
She described the day owner Ellis Short asked her to take on the position of chief executive as the best of her life, closely followed by being appointed to the FA Council.
Margaret outlined the challenges the club faces in complying with UEFA’s new Financial Fair Play legislation.
She talked about the way the club has diversified into areas such as event management and concerts to create new sources of income, as well the commercial links with overseas markets.
Graham Robb, chairman of the IoD’s County Durham and Sunderland Committee, said: “Margaret’s talk was hugely inspirational for members and guests, who were enthralled by her story and ambitions for Sunderland Football Club.
“The links between football and the wider community, including business, are increasingly important and the economic contribution made by clubs is huge, and we are very grateful that Margaret took time to attend the event.”
Margaret became one of the youngest chief executives in Premier League history when she took over from Steve Walton in July last year, aged just 31.
Then-chairman Niall Quinn said: “Margaret has been a true driving force at the club since her appointment here more than four years ago, and the fact that the club has gone from strength to strength on and off the pitch in that period is no coincidence.
“She has enormous passion for our football club and as its CEO, she will continue with the fantastic work that has gone before and will play a key role as the club continues to grow.”