Pepsi made an internal announcement today about Mr. Lee's new U.S.-based global role, but his title has not been determined yet. Mr. Lee could not be reached for comment.
An aspiring filmmaker when he was growing up in Hong Kong, Mr. Lee joined Pepsi in 1997 as brand manager for China and soon doubled the company's market share to 22%. Tapping into his film experience, he developed TV commercials for Pepsi that resembled popular kung-fu epics. This year, he has made user-generated content the centerpiece of Pepsi's marketing strategy in China. Mr. Lee was named one of Advertising Age's Global Players last year.
In China, he will be succeeded by Harry Hui as head of PepsiCo's marketing in Greater China. Until September 2006, Mr. Hui, a Hong Kong native, was president, Southeast Asia, of Vivendi's Universal Music. Mr. Hui ran Universal Music's operation in Asia for five years, with a special emphasis on China, where he led the company's aggressive digital-media strategy. Before that, he was a senior executive at Viacom's MTV Networks Asia.
Mr. Lee was a speaker at the first Ad Age China Branding Conference on Dec. 8 in Shanghai, where he talked about building global brands. He described this year's innovative Pepsi Creative Challenge, in which Pepsi consumers helped develop Pepsi's next TV commercial with Asian pop star Jay Chou by sending scripts to a website. Within six weeks, the page received almost 27,000 scripts, which were judged by other surfers. Mr. Chou and a panel of Pepsi executives picked the top five ideas every two weeks from the top 100 entries.
To help promote the contest, China's Back Dorm Boys, a pair of lip-synching "net celebrities" sponsored by Pepsi, acted out some of their favorite scripts from their dorm room, and the video clips were posted. Finally, millions of consumers voted for the winner from 15 finalists. After much online lobbying, a school teacher named Li Ming won the $12,500 prize -- more than a year's salary -- and saw his spot, cast using online auditions, produced.