Niall Quinn ended his six-year boardroom association with Sunderland yesterday when he resigned from his position as director of overseas development.
Quinn had already lessened his involvement at the Stadium of Light when he stepped down as chairman four months ago. He led the Drumaville takeover of the club six years ago, a move that was instrumental in arresting Sunderland's decline, and retains huge popularity amongst supporters.
"I've had the most amazing six years and it gives me a huge sense of pride to see where Sunderland is today," he said. "Sunderland is in an incredibly fortunate position to have a hugely talented team of people leading the football club right now.
"There is a tremendous amount of energy about the place and the board and the executive management team are a dynamic and committed group who hold the best interests of the club at the core of all they do.
"Everything is in place for Sunderland to really make a statement, which was always my aim. From a football perspective, securing the services of Martin O'Neill has been an absolute highlight. In Martin we have a man that understands the region, the club and the unique place it holds in the lives of its supporters, and I am confident that he will harness the immense passion that exists here and take us to new heights.
"As for the great Sunderland fans, I would like to thank them for the trust they placed in me. Back in 2006 I had no business experience and little formal education and yet the fans backed me and believed in what I was trying to do. They came back to the club in their tens of thousands and the faith they showed in me was humbling."
Quinn, who played for Sunderland from 1996 to 2002, is expected to concentrate on business interests in Ireland and spend more time with his family.