Former Mail editor Sebastian Hamilton joins Web Summit

PR executive is departing Revolut to take up role as head of public affairs with Paddy Cosgrave’s firm

Sebastian Hamilton, a former group editor of DMG Media Ireland which publishes the Irish Daily Mail and the Irish Mail on Sunday, has been appointed as head of public affairs of the Web Summit, a newly created role.

Mr Hamilton announced on Thursday on LinkedIn that he was leaving Revolut, where he has spent three years as head of public affairs for its Europe division. “It’s time to switch rocketships,” he posted. “It took an amazing opportunity to tempt me away, of which more later.”

Web Summit later confirmed that Mr Hamilton would be taking up a position it advertised in June. The role was described as leading “our engagement with editors, journalists, media, policymakers, influencers and tech community leaders in Ireland”. A key duty was said to be “building and strengthening relationships with journalists and editors regarding the company’s strategic priorities”.

The company has also announced that Richard Forde, who had been with Beachhut PR, was rejoining Web Summit as vice-president of start-up relations.


“As part of Web Summit’s efforts to showcase the best of Ireland’s start-up community, Sebastian Hamilton and Richard Forde are joining to deepen ties in Ireland, shining a spotlight on technology excellence in Web Summit’s home country and beyond,” the company said.

Declaring himself thrilled at taking up the role, Mr Hamilton said: “Web Summit is a global Irish success story; it’s recognised around the world as hosting the most important events in tech – in Lisbon, Rio, Toronto, Asia and now Qatar – yet it remains 100 per cent Irish. It was founded here and built here; it’s headquartered here; and it employs hundreds of brilliant people here, as well as more than a hundred more globally.”

The annual technology conference, launched by entrepreneurs Paddy Cosgrave, David Kelly and Daire Hickey in 2009, was staged in Dublin for the first seven years and then moved to Lisbon.

It also organises the Collision conference, which has been held in Las Vegas, New Orleans and Toronto; Web Summit Rio in South America; and Rise in Asia. Of a total workforce of almost 320, some 200 employees are based in Ireland.

Web Summit recently hired Drury, the Dublin-based communications agency, to work on a campaign involving start-up companies in advance of the Lisbon conference in November. The “Runway to Web Summit” campaign will include a series of tech-community gatherings in Cork, Galway, Belfast and Dublin.

Hiring a head of public affairs and commissioning a PR company marks something of a cultural shift for the organisation. “Web Summit don’t use a PR agency as my talent alone is sufficient,” chief executive Paddy Cosgrave tweeted last December.