Winter, 47, a defender with Huddersfield during his playing days and signed by the Blades in 1989, will head the football club's new three-man board alongside director Scott McCabe and chairman David Green in a reshuffle aimed at attracting new investment.
One of the new board's first tasks will be to decide whether to retain Chris Morgan as manager or seek a permanent replacement for former boss Danny Wilson from outside the club.
Winter, chief executive at Bramall Lane for 12 months until September 2012, said: "I'm delighted to be back at the club.
"The changes provide the football club board with a clear and pivotal role in the future running of Sheffield United FC, alongside the PLC board, which will remain."
Retiring football club board members, Chris Steer, Mike Blundell and Ian Cameron will take up roles of vice-president alongside Andrew Laver and Martin Ross.
Kevin McCabe said: "The changes position the football club to attract new investors and leave the board at the operational heart of the organisation.
"Chris, Mike and Ian have new roles and will continue to be very active alongside the other vice-presidents."
Winter, who made 93 appearances for Huddersfield before joining the Blades in 1989, suffered a career-ending knee ligament injury before the start of the 1989/90 season and did not appear for the club.