Cairney spent seven years working for Gavin Anderson in Tokyo, before moving to its London office three years ago.
At Powerscourt, she will work on clients including Bank of Ireland, Aer Lingus and Greencore.
Cairney said: ‘Powerscourt has a number of former journalists and staff from a financial background. I can offer a perspective from a purely PR background.’
Powerscourt was formed in 2004 by Rory Godson, the former Sunday Times business editor and Goldman Sachs director of corporate affairs.
He said: ‘Marie’s experience clearly matches our clients’ needs and she will bring considerable agency and international expertise to Powerscourt.’
Last year Powerscourt was brought in to advise on the £670m London and Dublin stock market flotation of Irish carrier Aer Lingus (PRWeek, 18 August 2006).
The agency’s brief was to emphasise the airline’s ‘low cost with added extras’ positioning, designed to give it the edge over no-frills rivals Ryanair and EasyJet.
The agency has a history of working with Irish clients that have operations in London. This year it advised on the £1bn sale of one of Canary Wharf’s iconic buildings – Citigroup’s European headquarters. It worked alongside Dublin-based K Capital Source for Irish acquiror Derek Quinlan.
During her ten years at Gavin Anderson, Cairney worked in both financial and corporate comms across retail, transport, renewable energy and financial services sectors. She also specialised in cross-border M&A, issues and crisis management, and restructuring comms.
Her clients included House of Fraser, Baugur Group and Eurotunnel.