Irish lawyer Margaret Byrne, 31, is new Sunderland AFC chief executive

Margaret Byrne
Margaret Byrne
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SUNDERLAND today appointed 31-year-old legal eagle Margaret Byrne as their new chief executive.

She will be one of the youngest chief executives in English top-flight football and steps up from her role as legal director and company secretary in a boardroom revamp at the Stadium of Light.

SAFC chairman Niall Quinn and chief executive Steve Walton addressed members of the Mussell Club business group at the Stadium of Light.

SAFC chairman Niall Quinn and chief executive Steve Walton addressed members of the Mussell Club business group at the Stadium of Light.

The club announced last night that Steve Walton was stepping down as chief executive after three years in the job.

Marketing and commercial director Lesley Callaghan has also left after 19 years with SAFC.

Byrne – a qualified solicitor – has already been instrumental in buying and selling players, as well as contract negotiations.

Chairman Niall Quinn (pictured with Walton) 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.”

Angela Lowes has joined the board as finance director after 11 years in the finance department.

The two outgoing directors had agreed to stay at the club for two years following Ellis Short becoming owner in 2009, to continue the development of the business and consolidation in the Premier League.

* Full story in today’s Sunderland Echo.