ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE
2017 HONORARY PARADE MARSHAL
John Saunders was appointed FleishmanHillard’s President and Chief Executive Officer in November 2015 – only the fourth person to hold that title in the history of a firm that celebrated its 70th birthday in 2016. FleishmanHillard is one of the world’s leading corporate communications firms with 85 offices globally.
From 2011, John held the role of Regional President for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). From 2007, he held the role of Regional President for Continental Europe and Eurasia, having been named as Regional Director for Europe in October 2004.
Before assuming his regional leadership positions, John led FleishmanHillard Saunders. He founded the business in 1990 and helped grow it into Ireland’s largest public relations consultancy and one of FleishmanHillard’s most successful international offices. The Irish operation also won more awards than any other firm during his time there.
John is a member of a range of professional bodies and is regularly invited to share a perspective on communications-related topics. Countries where he has undertaken speaking engagements include: Austria, Germany, Iceland, India, Iran, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Japan, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, the U.K. and the United States. In December 2007, he was awarded Honorary Life Membership of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland. John was President of ICCO (The International Communications Consultancy Organisation), the global representative body for the PR industry, from 2005-2007. In 2011, he became the 15th inductee to ICCO Hall of Fame. John has also been a member of the Europe and Central Asia Committee at the World Economic Forum. He is a member of both the Europe Circle of Communicators and of the Arthur W. Page Society. He was recently appointed to the Board of the Omnicom Public Relations Group.
Prior to his public relations career, John was a staff journalist with Radio Telefis Eireann – the Irish state broadcaster.
He is married to Jean for the past 36 years. They have three children – Colin, Caroline and Hannah, as well as a granddaughter, Matilda. John is a native of Dublin and now resides here in St. Louis. His love affair with the city began 31 years ago in 1986 when Anheuser-Busch began sponsoring the world famous Irish Derby horse race for which his firm managed publicity in Ireland. In fact, in 1994, he marched in the St. Louis Parade as a guest of the late Michael J. Roarty of Anheuser-Busch – another former Grand Marshal. In December last year, he was inducted into the Irish-American Business 100 list by “Irish America” magazine and was keynote speaker at a gala luncheon at New York’s Metropolitan Club.
He is fiercely proud that FleishmanHillard HQ continues to be located here in the Midwest. “St. Louis is our secret sauce,” he says.