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Publicis and Leo Burnett now have one CEO in Hong Kong as Alex Lee handed top job

Alex Lee and Thierry Halbroth

Alex Lee and Thierry Halbroth

In a move that sees the Publicis Worldwide and Leo Burnett ad agency brands group closer together in Hong Kong, Alex Lee, the CEO of Leo Burnett locally, has also been handed responsibility for running both businesses.

Lee, who joined LB less than a year ago after a long stint at Ogilvy, takes on responsibility for finding ways that Publicis, Leo Burnett and other Publicis Groupe-owned brands including digital agency Nurun, PR network MSL, and shopper agency Arc can work together to “provide clients with effective multi-disciplinary solutions.”

The group said that Leo Burnett and Publicis would continue to operate as separate entities.

Lee fills the role previously held by Sue McCusker, who has since moved on to digital agency Isobar, and Jeffrey Yu, who was Publicis Greater China boss and is now running PR agency Edelman.

In a statement, Lee said: “What clients are looking for now is integration of disciplines and capabilities, in my new role, I will make sure both agencies will support our clients’ marketing transformation with fast orchestration and implementation.”

Publicis Hong Kong has also promoted well respected creative Thierry Halbroth to managing partner. He takes on this role in addition to his current job as ECD.

The appointments come in the wake of a major restructure by the French ad agency giant to push its agencies closer together after a deal with rival holding company Omnicom to create the world’s biggest communications company collapsed last year. Publicis Groupe’s creative agencies in key markets including Hong Kong are now grouped under the Publicis Communications banner.

In Singapore, Publicis Worldwide, Leo Burnett and also Saatchi & Saatchi are now led by one CEO, Lou Dela Pena, who took on the role at the start of the year. The Singapore bosses of Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett have since moved on.

Asia Pacific was – with the exception of Latin America – Publicis Groupe’s slowest growing region over the last year. APAC grew by just 4.1% last year, despite the region being Publicis’s fastest growing digital market.

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