JP Donnelly: Ogilvy Group Ireland
JP Donnelly is group chief executive of Ogilvy Group in Ireland, and is well known as one of the country's top brand and communications specialists. During his career, he has lead and contributed to the launch of many of Ireland's leading brands.
Ogilvy is one of the country's largest communications groups, with specialist divisions in advertising (Ogilvy & Mather), media planning and buying (Mindshare), CRM (OgilvyOne), public relations (Wilson Hartnell) and digital communications (Neo).
Ogilvy was set up in 1948 and has offices throughout the world. Donnelly is also a non-executive of Ogilvy UK.
The company is also part of WPP plc, which is one of the largest marketing and communications companies in the world. Donnelly is head of country for WPP in Ireland.
Internationally, Ogilvy works with brands such as Dove, IBM, Kodak, SAP, Cisco, American Express, UPS and BP, while local Irish brands include Lucozade, Boots, Deep RiverRock, Cadbury, Kellogg, eircom, the HSE (Health Promotion), Quinn Group, Diageo, Ulster Bank, First Active and Safefood. In 2009, online department store Littlewoods Ireland appointed Ogilvy to handle the brand's creative and advertising work, including its two-year sponsorship of Coronation Street on TV3.
Donnelly worked from the bottom up and his experience spans many internationally recognised names in media and marketing. He began his career in the dispatch department of Peter Owens over 24 years ago. He then moved to New York, where he worked for Edelman Public Relations and Young & Rubicam on leading US brands such as American Express, KFC, Kraft and Colgate.
He returned to Ireland in 1990 to work with the McConnell Group, where he later became managing director of Dimension (from 1994 to 1999). He joined Ogilvy in 1999 to head up the merged entity of Bell and Wilson Hartnell Advertising and became group chief executive in 2003.
With much talk of the adverse effects the recession has had on advertising, Donnelly - and Ogilvy - has instead embraced "a new world of communications and a new way of marketing". This, says Donnelly, is challenging but also exciting, in that marketing must now conduct an everyday interaction with the consumer, and therefore, will be in a constant state of innovation and testing. Brands must now "converse and listen".
A keen rugby enthusiast, Donnelly is a former Honorary Secretary of University College Dublin RFC, and the Irish Universities Rugby Union (from 1994 to 2002), and a former founder and treasurer of the Students European Rugby Cup.
He was chairman of the Marketing Institute of Ireland in 2002/2003, and a board member of the Crafts Council of Ireland for 10 years from 1999. He is currently on the board of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, from which he achieved an MBA himself in 1993, and was president of the school's alumni from 2003 to 2005.
He is also on the board of MediaForum.ie, the media literacy and education website. He is a council member of the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital which, along with the president of the council, governs the hospital. Donnelly holds a BComm from UCD. He is an active contributor to Ashoka, and other social entrepreneurial initiatives.