Seán Donlon has had a distinguished career in both the public and private sectors. His public sector career includes posts held as Ambassador to the United States and Mexico, Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Special Adviser to the Taoiseach. His private sector career includes appointments as Executive Vice-President of the aviation company GPA. He also held a number of commercial directorships in the insurance and aviation financing sectors. He was Chancellor of the University of Limerick from 2002 to 2007 and most recently held the post of executive representative of the Governments of Ireland, Denmark, Lithuania and Kosovo on the Board of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London.
He took over the role as Chairman of the Press Council in 2016.