Kyril Louis-Dreyfus reacts as Sunderland confirm key boardroom figure will leave this summer

Chief Operating Officer Steve Davison is set to leave his role this summer
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Sunderland have confirmed that chief operating officer Steve Davison will leave at the end of the current campaign.

In a statement, chairman Kyril Louis-Dreyfus said that Davison's contribution has ensured that the club is 'ready to progress to the next level'. Davison, a lifelong fan of the club, arrived as a result of Louis-Dreyfus' takeover and played his part in both the men's and women's team

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Off-field challenges have increased this season, culminating in the fury that engulfed the arrangements for Newcastle United's visit to the Stadium of Light for an FA Cup third round fixture earlier this year. Davison will continue in his role until the end of the season before both he and the club move in an new direction.

"On behalf of our Board of Directors and staff, I would like to thank Steve for his commitment and dedication throughout the past three years," Louis-Dreyfus said in a statement.

"Integrity and professionalism have been at the forefront of his leadership and although we have collectively faced challenges along the way, his contribution ensures that he departs with the Club ready to progress to the next level. Steve and his family will always be welcome at the Stadium of Light, and we wish him well in the next chapter of his career.”

Davison himself added: "I joined the Club to implement a long-term project to take SAFC from League One back to the Premier League. I am pleased to leave the Club in a much stronger position than when I joined. I wish to thank the Club staff for their support and wish them every success in the future, and I look forward to once again following SAFC as a fan from next season.”

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In a lengthy statement, Sunderland paid tribute to Davison's contribution and listed the key developments he had overseen.

Sunderland's statement in full

"Davison commenced work at SAFC during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the Club residing in League One following back-to-back relegations that had resulted in substantial resourcing cuts.

There had also been a lack of investment in infrastructure over a lengthy period of time and he has subsequently led a transformative three years for the Club, delivering a range of successful projects. This includes securing the women’s team promotion to the FA Women’s Championship, which has provided a springboard for playing success this season.

Engagement with the main city institutions has also significantly improved, culminating in several new and thriving partnerships. This close working relationship has also helped provide the city with a revitalised concert programme and secured major events such as the Lionesses’ homecoming fixture in 2023 and the opening game of the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2025.

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Davison has led the ongoing modernisation of the Club’s facilities, including the introduction of a cashless stadium, and more recently digital ticketing, as well as the bid to secure 5G funding that will be core to the enhancement of fan experience in future years.

He has also overseen the planning of multi-million-pound investment programmes throughout his tenure, which most recently has focused on the enhancement of the stadium bowl including pitch replacement, floodlighting, PA system and the introduction of rails to allow safe standing.