Euro RSCG Taps Coke's Lee as North American CEO

Also Named President of Global Brands

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Euro RSCG Worldwide has hired Coca-Cola Co. marketing executive Esther Lee as its first North American CEO and president of global brands, said David Jones, CEO of Euro RSCG Worldwide.
Esther Lee is Euro's first CEO for North America.
Esther Lee is Euro's first CEO for North America.

In her new role, Ms. Lee will oversee Euro's 23 offices and 3,000 people in the U.S. and Canada and report to Mr. Jones.

Attracting top talent
"I really believe there's no limit to what we can achieve at Euro RSCG. The only question is how fast and that momentum depends on our increasing our share of the top talent in the industry," Mr. Jones said. "We want to be the world's largest creative hotshop, and hiring Esther is part of realizing that ambition."

Mr. Jones said he has gotten to know Ms. Lee, who was senior VP-chief creative officer at Coca-Cola, over the past 12 months. Prior to Coke, which she joined in 2002, Ms. Lee founded and ran New York start-up DiNoto Lee. She also worked at Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, where she was exec VP-director of client services.

"She's got the perfect mix of client side and agency experience," Mr. Jones said.

Ups and downs
Euro hit its stride last year as a global network, winning the consolidated $728 million Reckitt Benckiser account. Other top clients include ExxonMobil, Alcatel-Lucent, Jaguar and Charles Schwab. But the agency lost Ford Motor Co.'s Volvo account -- and several top executives -- when it was knocked out of the $150 million review in March.

Ms. Lee will be charged with unifying the North American offices and building the agency's business. "With tremendous momentum achieved over the past year, my hope is that I can join this team to create and shape the new communications and agency models of the future and drive growth to the next level."

Mark Greatrex, Coca-Cola's senior VP-marketing communications and insights, said in a memo announcing Ms. Lee's departure that she has "distinguished herself as a strategic and creative leader. Among her many accomplishments was helping to develop and introduce a collaborative advertising and branding communication model that allowed our system to better leverage fewer, bigger, creative ideas across greater geographies, paving the way for us to create ... the 'Coke Side of Life.'"

Seismic changes
Coke's marketing has been in flux, with the most seismic changes happening last quarter. Mary Minnick, exec VP-president of marketing, strategy and innovation, resigned in January, prompting a restructuring of the unit. Chairman-CEO Neville Isdell assumed oversight for Coke's strategy and innovation group, and marketing moved under President-Chief Operating Officer Muhtar Kent.

Coke's North American unit was restructured in March, decentralizing marketing and shifting brand stewardship to newly named president-general managers for three business units. Katie Bayne was promoted to chief marketing officer for the domestic unit to support the category teams.
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