FleishmanHillard Names Saunders President and CEO


Previously President of the network’s Europe, Middle East and Africa region, the Dublin native assumes the dual role with immediate effect

FleishmanHillard has chosen veteran John Saunders to succeed Dave Senay as President and Chief Executive Officer. The appointment was confirmed by Dale Adams, Chairman and CEO of DAS Group of Companies, a division of FH’s parent company, Omnicom Group.

The 57-year-old native of Dublin in Ireland steps into the newly assigned role with immediate effect. He was previously the President of the public relations network’s Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. In his new commission, he is set to reside in St. Louis, where the agency is headquartered.

Saunders recently celebrated his silver jubilee with FH. In 1990, both parties collaborated to found FleishmanHillard Saunders, which grew to become Ireland’s top public relations agency and one of the firm’s most successful offices worldwide.

In 2004, he was named Regional Director for Europe, and seven years later, Regional EMEA President. Prior to entering the field, he was a staff journalist with Radio Telefis Eireann of Irish State broadcasting. He is a former President of ICCO, the global consortium of national PR associations, and a member of its Hall of Fame.

“He is an inspiring communicator, a natural collaborator, and relationship-builder. In today’s ultra-connected world, he will help FleishmanHillard link its employees and clients with the many best-in-class companies that are part of the Omnicom/DAS network of companies,” said Dale Adams, Chairman and CEO of DAS Group of Companies.

Meanwhile, turning 60 in November, Senay steps down after 32 years with the company, of which he spent the past nine or more was spent in the aforementioned capacity. He joined the firm in March 1984, and was named President and CEO in July 2006. He will remain with the firm as a consultant and support the leadership transition.

Specifically, Senay led the company’s adoption of a digital platform and a more integrated approach to communications. He also spearheaded the creation of Ethics as Culture, a programme promoting ethical decision-making in public relations. FleishmanHillard later donated that programme to the PR Council.

In addition to the above, he served as Chairman of the same for two terms. In 2014, PRWeek, the industry’s publication of record, named him PR Professional of the Year. In the same year, the said publication also named the brand Global Agency of the Year.

Deborah Joy Peter
Deborah Joy Peter
Staff journalist, World Branding Forum.

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