Former Sunderland player and chairman Niall Quinn has left his role with the club to return to his native Republic of Ireland.
Quinn played for the Black Cats for six years between 1996 and 2002, forming a strong partnership with Kevin Phillips as Sunderland reached the Premier League and recorded back-to-back seventh-placed finishes.
Following the club’s relegation to the Championship, the former Arsenal and Manchester City striker later became chairman in 2006 and briefly managed the side before appointing Roy Keane.
Explaining his decision, Quinn told the club’s website: "I've had the most amazing six years and it gives me a huge sense of pride to see where Sunderland is today.
“Sunderland is in an incredibly fortunate position to have a hugely talented team of people leading the football club right now. Everything is in place for Sunderland to really make a statement, which was always my aim.”
I've had the most amazing six years and it gives me a huge sense of pride to see where Sunderland is today.
Quinn was also instrumental in bringing new manager Martin O’Neill to the club, in December last year, and the 45-year-old revealed his pleasure at that achievement.
"From a football perspective, securing the services of Martin O'Neill has been an absolute highlight,” he said.
“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.”
O’Neill has transformed Sunderland’s struggling season since replacing Steve Bruce, guiding the club up to ninth in the Premier League table and into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, where they will face Everton.
Quinn featured at two FIFA World Cups™ for his country, Italy 1990 and Korea/Japan 2002, and ended his international career with 21 goals in 91 appearances.