Princess Cruises has appointed Brian O’Connor to the role of vice president, public relations, effective June 1.
He succeeds Julie Benson, who will retire May 29, after 32 years of service.
In this role, O’Connor will lead the team accountable for media relations, publicity, social media, community relations, ship introductions and special events. He will drive messaging for product and program launches and be responsible for issues management and crisis communications. He will also oversee the collaboration among the international public relations teams in the United Kingdom, Australia and throughout Asia.
“Brian brings more than 15 years of experience in strategic planning and creative campaign development to this integral role for Princess Cruises,” said Gordon Ho, senior vice president of global marketing and North America sales.
O’Connor joined the company in 2006 as director, public relations for Cunard Line, elevating awareness for the brand in North America through such initiatives as Queen Mary 2 appearing in the premier episode of the Discovery Channel series Mighty Ships, the Britannia Ball gala fundraiser for the New York City Opera and the first performances by James Taylor and his band on a transatlantic crossing. He’s supported the launch of Queen Victoria with press events by partnering with NYC & Company and staging the first three Queens Cunard Royal Rendezvous in New York in 2008. He was promoted to director, marketing and public relations in 2009 and supported the launch of Queen Elizabeth in 2010.
In 2012, O’Connor was appointed vice president, North America sales, responsible for leading the field sales team representing both Princess and Cunard. He is credited with strengthening trade relations and growing distribution with North America retail partners. As he transitions from sales he will complete his service as chairman of the CLIA Trade Relations Committee. Interviews to identify his successor are underway.
Prior to joining Cunard, O’Connor served as director of public relations at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, where he was accountable for publicity and media relations for more than 125 events annually, ranging from red carpet charity galas and political fundraisers to award shows including The Golden Globe Awards.
In addition to positions held at Princess and Cunard, O’Connor is a past president and five term board member of the Public Relations Society of America – Los Angeles Chapter (PRSA-LA). He is also a graduate of the Protocol School of Washington’s protocol officer training and certification and is a member of Protocol Diplomacy International – Protocol Officers Association (PDI-POA).
O’Connor is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Communication Arts & Sciences.