Duffy, who replaces Jon Potter, will assume responsibility for the international growth and development of the Guinness brand at a difficult time for the product.
Sales were down 3 per cent in the second half of 2003, as Guinness struggles to uphold its advertising heritage and capture the imagination of young drinkers.
Duffy, who was made the managing director of Diageo Ireland in September 2000, will continue to influence the Irish drinks trade through his appointment as the chairman of Diageo Ireland.
Meanwhile, Potter will lead the commercial teams supporting spirits and licensed brewing in Africa when he takes over as the commercial director for Diageo Africa, this month.
Duffy said: "This new role gives me stewardship of Ireland's most iconic brand, which is a fantastic opportunity. I look forward to helping build the success of Guinness in markets around the world."