Sports communications supremo Mike Lee dies aged 61

Tributes have flooded in for Vero Communications founder and legendary sports PR strategist Mike Lee, OBE, who has suddenly died from a heart attack aged 61.

Image via @VeroSport on Twitter
Image via @VeroSport on Twitter

Lee played a pivotal role in London’s successful Olympic and Paralympic Games bid and spearheaded the campaigns that won the 2018 Rio Olympic Games and 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup.

He also led successful bids for Pyeongchang 2018, Paris 2024 and the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympics and was regarded as on of Britain’s finest sports communications strategists.

Lee founded Vero Communications in 2006 after the successful London bid.

"My fellow directors Clair Ashley, Sujit Jasani and I have been incredibly fortunate to have known and worked with Mike over many years," Vero director John Zerafa said.

"He was a force in communications – always inspiring, challenging and innovative and leaves an indelible legacy in the world of sport. He will be deeply missed by all those who have worked with him, and been advised by him. On behalf of the entire Vero team, our thoughts are with Mike’s wife Heather, his son Alex and step-son Euan."

Aside from big-ticket events, the agency played a role in helping surfing and sevens rugby become Olympic sports and worked on more bespoke projects, such as managing Brian Cookson’s International Cycling Union presidential election campaign.

Tributes on social media have paid homage to the Lee and his legacy in sport.

Prior to Vero, Lee was a director of communications for UEFA and media and political strategist for the English Premier League.

He was married to Heather Rabbatts, the former Millwall chair and FA non-executive director.

Over the past 12 months, Lee stepped back from the daily grind of Vero to pursue his passion of cycling and studying for a master’s degree.

"Thanks to the legacy of Mike, and the strength of the senior team that has been at the core of the business over the past decade, Vero is well positioned for the future, with clients across the world of sport," the agency said in an obituary.

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