WPP China CEO Bessie Lee resigns

Lee will dedicate her time to her startup venture as GroupM's Patrick Xu assumes her duties in a dual role.

Bessie Lee
Bessie Lee

Bessie Lee, one of China’s most experienced media executives, has resigned as CEO of WPP China effective May 1. She will focus full-time on Withinlink, a China-based startup incubator and early stage venture fund she founded.

Lee has been China CEO since 2013, during which time she said she was responsible for more than U.S. $1 billion in annual revenue in that market. WPP companies and associates in Greater China bring in $1.6 billion in revenue annually, according to official figures. During her 27-year WPP career, Lee also served as the CEO of GroupM China.

GroupM China's current CEO, Patrick Xu will take on Lee's role as CEO of WPP China, effective May 2. His dual role will be based in Shanghai. 

WPP CEO Martin Sorrell noted in a statement that since China is such a strong growth engine as WPP's third largest market, "It is important that we have some continuity in our senior management."  

"[Xu’s] role will have a special emphasis on horizontality and ensuring our business is localized and more relevant to Chinese clients, partners, and staff," he added.

Lee founded Withinlink in 2015 and made an agreement with WPP for a 60-40 split of her time: Mondays to Wednesdays for WPP and Thursdays and Fridays for Withinlink.

"I've been working every weekend for the past...I can't remember how long," Lee told Campaign Asia-Pacific. "I feel like it's getting to be a stretch for me this year, so I decided to quit to focus on Withinlink." 

"After 27 years with WPP, it’s high time I start to focus on my core passion: new technology, entrepreneurship, and venture funding," she added.

This story first appeared on campaignasia.com.

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