Charnley, the club’s managing director, oversaw the disastrous appointment of Steve McClaren last summer.
And he also presided over an £80million spend in the last two transfer windows.
But it failed to translate into results on the field, and Sunderland condemned the club to the Championship last night with a 3-0 win over Everton.
A contrite Charnley – who doesn’t speak directly to the media – issued a statement after the club’s fate was confirmed.
“We are devastated at our relegation from the Premier League,” he said.
“I want to thank all of the fans for the support you have shown for the club you love throughout the season, in spite of this massive disappointment and underachievement.
“Your support throughout has been magnificent, but I want to pay particular thanks for the incredible backing you have given to Rafa (Benitez) and the team during the latter part of the season.
“Nothing more could be asked of you, and I am truly sorry we have not given you the outcome you deserve.
“We know that supporters want to know what the future holds.
“The process of scrutinising what went wrong and planning for what is to come has already begun.
“Rafa and the team must prepare for the final game of the season.
“But, after that, please rest assured we will communicate more fully with supporters.”