Euro's Esther Lee Steps Down

CEO for North America Leaves Shop After Little More Than a Year

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- After scarcely more than a year, Euro RSCG North American CEO Esther Lee is exiting the agency because of what several industry insiders have billed as a clash of egos in the C-suite.
Esther Lee
Esther Lee

Ms. Lee joined the Havas agency last spring as its first North American CEO and president of global brands following a five-year post at Coca-Cola, where she served as senior VP-chief creative officer. Her boss, Global CEO David Jones, had wooed her for the job for the better part of a year.

"I spoke to a lot of people about this job, and many people wanted it, but I wanted only one person: Esther," Mr. Jones told Ad Age at the time. Ms. Lee had said: "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."

That team is a different one today; Euro has made a slew of changes in the upper ranks in the past year. Among them: Jose Cabaco was brought in as chief creative officer-North America; Andrew Benett and Jeff Brooks were elevated to co-presidents of the U.S. office; Ron Berger was named executive chairman-North America; and Ron Bess was named chief operating officer-North America.

Not a good 'cultural fit'
According to one person familiar with the matter, Ms. Lee wasn't the right "cultural fit."

Ms. Lee did not return calls, and Euro RSCG representative said she would not comment on an industry rumor.

Ms. Lee's next move will be closely watched, as the Cornell graduate is well-known in the marketing community. Besides her Coke experience, she has nearly 20 years of agency-side experience at shops including WPP Group's JWT and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch. She also founded her own agency, dubbed DiNoto Lee.
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