WPP outlines China expansion with new chief executive role

SIR MARTIN Sorrell’s advertising company, WPP, yesterday signalled further expansion into the East, in appointing WPP veteran Bessie Lee to the new role of chief executive for its Chinese operations.

The move follows an acquisition spree in the country, which is now WPP’s third-largest market after the UK and US. Sir Martin expects China to overtake the UK in the coming years, although he has highlighted slowing growth in the region as a cause for concern.

Lee is currently chief executive of GroupM China, a WPP subsidiary.

The company said her new role will require her to “help identify new business opportunities, potential acquisitions and investments, as well as support the group’s ongoing efforts to attract and retain the best talent in China”.

Lee has worked at various WPP subsidiaries for the past 20 years.

“Bessie has done a fantastic job in building GroupM China into not only the leading media agency group in China, but one of GroupM’s strongest operations globally,” Sir Martin said.

“We look forward to her lending her considerable expertise and experience across WPP to accelerate the growth of all areas of our business in China.”

WPP has made a flurry of Chinese acquisitions in recent years, including October’s purchase of communications agency ArtM. It employs 14,000 people in the country.