Sunderland have appointed life-long supporter Steve Walton as their new chief executive.
Wearside-born Walton will take up his duties in March next year, replacing current incumbent Peter Walker, who announced his decision to pursue an opportunity outside of football earlier this year.
"I am excited and looking forward to working alongside what I already know is a strong and very professional team of people at Sunderland," said Walton.
"From my perspective, Sunderland is on firmer footing than in recent years, so there is a great platform to build on to make the club an even stronger Premier League brand in the future.
"Having worked as a strategic adviser to many Premier League football clubs for a number of years, I have gained a unique insight and understanding of the challenges and issues faced by Premier League clubs, and I am proud to have worked so closely with many key figures in the industry and been trusted to advise and assist them.
"Having attended Sunderland games from an early age with my grandfather in the Clock Stand at Roker Park, I never imagined that one day I would be sitting alongside Niall Quinn in the directors' box at the Stadium of Light and steering the club I have supported all my life."
Walton is currently corporate director for Barclays, for whom he has worked for more than 30 years, in the north-east, and was previously the bank's director of football.
Walton, a married father of two, previously spent five months working for local rivals Newcastle prior to Mike Ashley's takeover at St James' Park.
Chairman Niall Quinn said: "I am thrilled that Steve has accepted the position and know he will bring some great qualities to the role.
"His leadership style, vision and wider knowledge of the football industry will be a real plus for us going forward."
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