Former Swindon chairman Jeremy Wray says David Miliband's resignation from the Sunderland board was over the top.
Former foreign secretary Miliband immediately resigned as Sunderland's vice-chairman and non-executive director after Paolo Di Canio was named Martin O'Neill's successor on Sunday, citing the Italian's "past political statements".
Wray, who appointed Di Canio as Swindon manager in 2011, told BBC Radio 5live: "It is a sad knee-jerk response. I doubt David Miliband has ever met Paolo Di Canio. I've known him for two years. I don't think politics was ever discussed once.
"Paolo will have many strong views. He probably has a strong view on whether Italy should be in the Euro, gay marriage or the endangered Siberian tiger, but I doubt if it's really relevant to keeping Sunderland in the Premiership.
"I think anybody's political views and their private views - as long they're private and how they conduct themselves away from their job - are pretty irrelevant.
"Nothing of that was ever discussed during his time at Swindon. He was focused full-on 24 hours on success for us and that's what he'll do for Sunderland."