C&W's Doherty exits for global Diageo position

Stephen Doherty is to leave Cohn & Wolfe for a senior role at the world's largest alcoholic drinks group.

Doherty, only promoted from a corporate MD to a director of operations at the WPP agency late last year, will join FTSE 100 firm Diageo in February as director of communications.

‘Global roles as exciting and challenging as this are rare,’ said Doherty, who has advised Diageo at Cohn & Wolfe for five years.

Doherty said the Diageo brand should be ‘revered’ for its impressive financial performances in an oft-maligned industry sector.

His first job will be to handle the group’s interim results on 15 February. His full remit includes media relations, internal comms, issues management, public policy and corporate comms.

Doherty will report to global corporate relations director Ian Wright, who leads a global corporate affairs team of 170.
He effectively replaces former head of external comms Jane Richardson, now director of brand comms. She replaces Ken Robertson, who has joined Diageo’s scotch division.

C&W is expected to replace Doherty shortly. His director of operations role was only established in October (PRWeek, 13 Oct 2006). Prior to C&W he worked at Edelman.

Diageo’s flagship brands include Guinness, Smirnoff and Blossom Hill, and the company is rarely out of news pages.

Already this year the firm took its first tentative steps into the retail food market by teaming up with Irish baker Irwin’s to develop a bread made with Guinness.

It also revealed this week that it would be a chief sponsor of the ICC Cricket World Cup, taking place in the Caribbean this year.

The Johnnie Walker and Red Stripe brands comprise Diageo’s first multi-brand, multi-region sponsorship. Johnnie Walker will be the regional sponsor and official whisky for the Asia and Caribbean regions, while Red Stripe will be regional sponsor and official beer in the Caribbean.

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