Saatchi Loses Its U.K. Chief to Manchester United

Lee Daley Quits Advertising to 'Serve the Greatest Football Club in the World'

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LONDON ( -- Lee Daley, the group chairman and chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi U.K. and former worldwide chief executive of WPP Group's Red Cell network (now United), has quit advertising to become group commercial director of U.K. soccer club Manchester United.
Lee Daley is a life-long Manchester United fan.
Lee Daley is a life-long Manchester United fan. Credit: Saatchi & Saatchi

Manchester United, one of the biggest sports brands in the world with a pre-tax profit of $62 million last year, is owned by Florida-based U.S. billionaire Malcolm Glazer. He also owns a controlling stake in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team. He bought the U.K. soccer club, based in the north of England, in a hostile takeover nearly two years ago for $1.5 billion.

Lifelong fan
Mr. Daley, 43, a life-long Manchester United fan, starts his new job in mid-April. He said in a statement, "I leave advertising after 20 fantastic years in order to serve the greatest football club in the world. I am committed to making a difference to the fortunes of the club and helping in the expansion of the business of Manchester United worldwide."

Mr. Daley will oversee Manchester United's commercial plans for sponsorship, media, marketing and financial services. He will also be on the Manchester United board, chaired by Malcolm Glazer's two sons, Joel and Avram. The club's chief executive, David Gill, said, "The group commercial director is central to maintaining the club's position at the top of the game."

Speculation about Mr. Daley's departure from Saatchi has been rife since late last year, when rumors began circulating that several leading advertising-industry figures had been approached about a senior role at Saatchi & Saatchi in the U.K.

Mr. Daley joined Saatchi & Saatchi in October 2004. He began his career in advertising at WCRS in London in 1986 and joined McCann-Erickson New York as director in charge in 1993. He worked at Red Cell from 2002 to 2004 as worldwide chief executive and chief strategic officer.
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