Arrivals & Departures: Promotion for DB’s Brewtroleum man, circus trapeze guy rejoins Botica

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Fred Russo has rejoined Botica Butler Raudon Partners, the company where he launched his public relations career almost a decade ago, after emigrating from the USA. He left as an account director in 2013 and returns as shareholder, board member and executive director of the company. 

Russo’s first stint with Botica lasted seven years, and he quickly became Botica’s go-to guy on multinational tech accounts and local start-ups. He left in 2013 to take up the position of national PR manager for Samsung NZ.

Following that he became PR director at QMS Media, settling up the company’s public relations function, and winning and working on blue-chip corporate and consumer accounts including LG Electronics, Kia Motors and Huawei NZ. He managed the company’s New Zealand PR and social media accounts and local communications around the merger with QMS Asia Pacific and the company’s subsequent ASX listing. He also consulted across the company’s experiential portfolio.

“Fred is an outstanding PR practitioner,” said Botica Butler Raudon Partners founder and chairman, Allan Botica.

“He’s smart, switched on and strategic. He combines insight and creativity, energy and application. Clients love him. Media enjoy working with him. I’m delighted to have him as a colleague and business partner.

“Fred returns bringing with him a new set of skills and capabilities: He has really extended himself during his time in brand-land and will lead our social offerings, influencer campaigns and brand activations.”

Fred Russo said: “I like the people and the culture at Botica. We do interesting and challenging work for great clients, and I get an opportunity to create something meaningful. That works for me.”

A one-time international athlete, Russo is a former NCAA Division I springboard diver. After college he became a circus manager, where he was responsible for recruiting and training trapeze artists.

“Trapeze is all about trust, timing, flawless execution and grace under pressure,” he says Fred. “That transfers really well into public relations.”

Russo also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from Northern Arizona University.

DB Breweries has promoted Sean O’Donnell to the role of marketing director. He moves into the position after 2½ years with DB and Redwood Cidery, most recently as the head of cider and domestic beer marketing.

“Sean has excellent marketing experience across a range of sectors and will provide business continuity with his deep knowledge and passion for our industry, brands, market challenges and business drivers,” said DB managing director Andy Routley. “His ongoing contribution at a leadership level will be invaluable.”

O’Donnell led the DB Export team that created the new DB Export brand platform Made by Doing and the prizewinning DB Export Brewtroleum campaign. His team were also responsible for the recent launch of Old Mout Hard Cider, which claims to be the first truly male cider innovation in the New Zealand market.

O’Donnell said: “We have a truly world class marketing team here at DB, working on a number of the best brands locally and globally,  including Heineken, Tiger, Monteith’s, DB Export & Tui. I’m looking forward to building on the great work that’s already happening here and continuing to drive our iconic beer and cider brands forward by engaging Kiwi adults in new and innovative ways.”

His appointment is effective on Friday 1 April. He can be contacted at 021 403 509.

O’Donnell replaces Maud Meijboom-van Wel, who continues her career within the Heineken Company as she takes up the role of marketing director at Heineken Malaysia’s Guinness Anchor Berhard (GAB).

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