Guinness chief resigns

Guinness chief executive Brendan O’Neill is leaving to take up the position of chief operating officer at ICI, less than a month after the merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan to form drinks giant Diageo.

O’Neill is a key player in a board shake-up at ICI, which will see the departure of chairman Sir Ronald Hampel in April 1999 after 43 years with the company.

Colin Storm, deputy chief executive of Guinness and managing director of Guinness Great Britain takes over from O’Neill at the end of his three month’s notice in May.

“The ICI position is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which Brendan O’Neill just couldn’t turn down,” says a Diageo spokesman.

As chief operating officer at ICI, O’Neill will report to chief executive Charles Miller Smith, who will succeed Hampel as chairman.

Last week it emerged that Guinness had switched its 12m advertising account from Ogilvy & Mather to Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO after a four-way pitch. The review, following Guinness’s decision to axe its”black-and-white” campaign, included TBWA Simons Palmer and HHCL & Partners, which handles Guinness in Ireland.

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