As Sunderland’s first international and national marketing director Farnan will be charged with “significantly” developing the club’s commercial and sponsorship divisions and increasing brand awareness and revenue streams in the UK and other territories.
Farnan fills Lesley Callaghan’s marketing director role that has been vacant since 2009, but with added international responsibility. He joins from RedStrike Marketing, which represents brands that invest in sport.
In the 1990s, as managing director of Manchester United International, Farnan helped to grow the brand in Asia, the Middle East and Oceania and oversaw the opening of retail stores in the regions.
Farnan has also held senior international roles at La Liga’s Athletico Madrid and Serie A club AC Palma.
Sunderland did not qualify for any international tournaments this season, but did visit Germany on a pre-season tour in July.
It will be hoped the arrivals of Swedish winger Sebastian Larsson and South Korean striker Ji Dong-Won this summer will help fuel international fans’ interest in the club.
Sunderland is currently sponsored by online bingo site Tombola and sportswear brand Umbro.