NIALL Quinn has quit as Sunderland chairman.
The Irishman will assume a new international development role with the Black Cats as owner Ellis Short becomes chairman.
Quinn said: “This is a great opportunity for us to make the club stronger and I’m delighted that Ellis has agreed to support the plan.
“He’ll be a fantastic chairman and taking this role on speaks volumes about his ambition for the club.”
Ellis Short said: “I can assure our fans that it’s the same group of people continuing to lead the club.
“With financial fair play rules coming into effect it is essential for the long-term success of the club that we develop interests on a global scale and there’s no-one better than Niall to sell the ethos of Sunderland to an international audience.
“He has been keen to drive this change for some time and I agree that it’s the way forward for us now.”
“Assuming the position of chairman is a great honour and I will treat the role as guardian of this club with the utmost respect.”
SAFC chief executive Margaret Byrne, added: “Niall is widely known and hugely respected throughout the world of football.
“His profile, coupled with his vast knowledge of the game and the business, means he is perfectly placed to bring Sunderland to the forefront internationally.
“This new challenge begins immediately as he represents the club at the prestigious Leaders in Football conference in London this week, after which he travels to Korea with Steve Bruce and Mike Farnan, International Marketing Director. Trips to territories such as Vietnam, India, Abu Dhabi and Africa are also taking place in the coming months.”
Quinn was the figurehead for the Drumaville’s takeover of Sunderland in 2006, becoming chairman and, for a short time, also manager.
He remained as chairman after Short bought out Drumaville.
His decision to step down as chairman comes just 16 days short of the ninth anniversary of his final Sunderland appearance as a player.