Following a competitive international recruitment process, Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland (Screen Ireland) is delighted to announce the appointment of Désirée Finnegan to the role of Chief Executive, taking over the position previously held by James Hickey.
Originally from Dublin, Désirée Finnegan has most recently held the position of Senior Vice President, Theatrical Marketing & Publicity EMEA at Warner Bros. Pictures. During her 15 year tenure at the Studio, she has been part of an industry-leading team dedicated to collaborating with filmmakers and creative talent to bring a diverse slate of films to international audiences.
In her most recent role, she has led the regional marketing operations for Europe, Middle East & Africa, working with local territory offices and a London-based team to guide strategy for theatrical campaigns across the region. Prior to that she was based at the Studio’s headquarters in Burbank, California and held the position of Senior Vice President, International Publicity with strategic oversight of publicity campaigns across Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Europe, Middle East & Africa.
Since joining Warner Bros. in 2004 she has worked on many film campaigns across all genres. Notable commercial campaigns include Dunkirk, Ready Player One, The Lego Movie, The Dark Knight Trilogy and the Harry Potter franchise. She has also worked on successful Golden Globe and BAFTA award winning campaigns for critically acclaimed films such as The Departed, Inception, Gravity and Argo.
Prior to Warner Bros., she held various roles in Ireland before relocating to New York for a position with Enterprise Ireland, supporting the development and growth of Irish enterprise in the US. She holds a Bachelor of Business Studies degree from Trinity College Dublin and a Masters degree in Strategic Management.
Commenting on the appointment, Screen Ireland Chair Dr. Annie Doona said:
“Désirée brings a wealth and depth of experience to the role of Chief Executive at Screen Ireland. She is an experienced leader who brings huge energy to her work and has a strong commitment to the screen industries. Her wide knowledge of the international film industry will benefit the Irish industry and we are delighted to welcome her back to Ireland to lead the agency into the next phase of growth.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank outgoing Chief Executive James Hickey for his hard work and dedication to Screen Ireland over the last eight years. During this time production activity levels across the film, television and animation industry have doubled and the sector has experienced huge success with award winning and critically acclaimed films including Room, Brooklyn, The Lobster, Sing Street, The Young Offenders, Song of the Sea, The Breadwinner, Black ’47 and Hole in the Ground, amongst many others.”
Commenting on her new appointment, Désirée Finnegan said “I am delighted to be returning home to take up the post of Chief Executive of Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland and for the opportunity to continue building on the critical and commercial success of the Irish film, television and animation industry. My passion for supporting great storytellers and those with creative vision has played an important role throughout my career and I am sincerely looking forward to working with the incredible wealth of Irish creative talent, both in front of and behind the camera.
It is an honour to be given the opportunity to work with the dedicated team at Screen Ireland supporting Irish artistic culture at home and abroad, further developing the indigenous industry and continuing inward production investment at a time of significant opportunity. I look forward to working with the Board of Screen Ireland, led by Dr. Annie Doona and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, to support creativity, job creation and turnover growth in the industry.”
The Irish screen industries have a Gross Value Added of €692 million to the Irish economy. Currently, there are 12,000 full-time equivalent jobs in film, television and animation production in Ireland. Capital funding for the agency is currently €16.2 million and there is a strong commitment from Government to provide €200 million in funding to Screen Ireland over the ten-year period from 2018-2027.
Désirée Finnegan is expected to take up the role in August 2019. James Hickey will remain in position until this time.