NEWS: Guinness appoints new UK PR director

Guinness Brewing Worldwide has hired Sean O’Neill as its new PR director to head the drinks division’s UK internal and external affairs.

Guinness Brewing Worldwide has hired Sean O’Neill as its new PR director

to head the drinks division’s UK internal and external affairs.



O’Neill, director of marketing and corporate communications at Burson-

Marsteller in Melbourne, will join Guinness Brewing’s London

headquarters in July. He is thought to be getting a salary of around

pounds 70,000 a year.



Reporting to the company’s MD Brendan O’Neill (no relation), the new PR

director will have responsibility for media relations, internal

communications and community affairs.



Government relations for the brewing arm is handled separately by a

public affairs team of three at the offices of its parent company

Guinness plc, which also owns the drinks giant United Distillers.



Despite the change of title, O’Neill’s job is the same as that held by

Guinness Brewing’s former PA director Bill Spears who quit last November

to become head of public affairs for Cunard Lines.



External communications manager Jonathan Miller and internal manager

Claire Grundy have held the fort since his departure while Guinness

hunted for a suitable replacement with international PR experience.



Part of O’Neill’s brief will be to liaise with Guinness Brewing PR

personnel in 50 countries across the globe.



Guinness Brewing is also planning to increase exports to the US to

exploit the growth of traditional Irish pubs although Ireland remains

the biggest single market.



The company’s marketing strategy was recently criticised by the

marketing press which pointed to delays in the launch of its draught

lager Enigma and creative disputes over its ‘black and white’

advertising campaign.



Meanwhile, former Guinness plc chairman Ernest Saunders told the

company’s AGM this month that the company had ‘lost its way’.



Saunders added that Guinness should reduce its dependence on alcohol and

move into soft drinks. However last year the division boasted trading

profits of pounds 270 million and a pounds 2.1 billion turnover.



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