The former Ireland international striker, who has been chairman since 2006, will focus on developing Sunderland's profile and business interests overseas. Owner Ellis Short will take over as chairman.
"This is a great opportunity for us to make the club stronger and I'm delighted Ellis has agreed to support the plan," Quinn, a former Manchester City, Arsenal and Sunderland player, said on the club's website.
Sunderland have made a poor start to the season, winning one of their seven league games. They are 16th in the 20-team table with six points.
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