Wilson Hartnell has appointed Peter O’Brien as head of its Corporate and Public Affairs practice.

He replaces Sheila Gahan who has stepped down after eight years in the role and 28 years with the company. Sheila is taking on an advisory role as a senior consultant to the agency on a portfolio of corporate accounts.

Peter brings 20 years of corporate and public affairs experience to Wilson Hartnell. Peter led Diageo’s Corporate Relations function for Western Europe, and was responsible for developing and implementing reputation, policy, communications and sustainability objectives across the region. He has also held senior public affairs and communications roles in Wyeth (Pfizer) and Keating & Associates. Prior to these private sector roles, Peter built extensive experience in IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

Commenting on Peter’s appointment, Brian Bell, Wilson Hartnell Chief Executive, said: “We’re delighted to have someone of Peter’s high calibre and wide experience join us to take over the leadership of our Corporate and Public Affairs Practice. His expertise and extensive communications’ skills will help us to achieve our growth ambitions for the practice and I’m confident he will prove to be a great addition to our Senior Leadership Team.”