KYRIL LOUIS-DREYFUS has pledged to bring “sustainable and long-term success” to Sunderland after his appointment as the club’s new majority owner and chairman was confirmed this afternoon.

Louis-Dreyfus’ takeover has been formally been ratified by the EFL, with the 23-year-old French trust fund director understood to have purchased a controlling 59 per cent stake in the Black Cats.

Former owner Stewart Donald has retained a minority stake in the club, with Juan Sartori and Charlie Methven also holding on to a minority shareholding.

Documents filed at Companies House today revealed the £9m loan Donald secured from FPP Sunderland has been repaid in full, which means the takeover process has resulted in Louis-Dreyfus taking over a club that is completely debt-free.

A Harvard MBA graduate with extensive experience of football ownership thanks to his family’s long-standing association with French Ligue 1 club Marseille, Louis-Dreyfus is expected to adopt a hands-on role as he looks to transform Sunderland’s fortunes.

He has attended the club’s last three matches, including Tuesday’s Papa John’s Trophy win over Lincoln, and is understood to be planning to establish a permanent base in the North-East.

“I am proud to become a custodian of this esteemed institution, but I also recognise the significant responsibility that comes with it,” said Louis-Dreyfus.

“Today marks the start of an exciting new chapter in Sunderland AFC’s history and although the current landscape facing football dictates that there are challenges to overcome, I am confident that together we can weather the present storm and put solid foundations in place to bring sustainable and long-term success to the club.”

Donald’s departure as chairman ends a turbulent two-and-a-half year spell that saw the Oxford-based businessman initially hailed as a saviour after he replaced Ellis Short, only for his tenure to quickly turn sour.

Donald was criticised for leveraging Sunderland’s Premier League parachute payments in order to fund the purchase of the club from Short, and has been looking to sell his controlling stake since the summer of 2019.

“When we entered into negotiations with Ellis Short three years ago, Sunderland was nearly £200m in debt, was losing £35m per annum, and had all but been relegated to League One,” said Donald.

“Our plan was to work hard to turn around the finances of the club, put it on a stable footing and to get promoted back into the Championship.

“I am proud to say that we have achieved what we set out to in terms of SAFC’s finances – the club is debt-free, was breaking even prior to the pandemic and has retained its Category One Academy status.

"However, it is no secret that – despite spending the highest transfer fees and playing wages in League One history – progress on the pitch has not followed suit.

"That has been a bitter disappointment for us as owners, and we can only apologise for falling short in this regard.

“Whilst we certainly made mistakes, everything was done with the best of intentions with the view to deliver this aim, but we just fell short and in football, unfortunately, a miss is as good as a mile.”