SHANGHAI- China media veteran Lee Li(李志恒) will retire from ZenithOptimedia China and agency life at year-end at the age of 46.
Zenith China CEO Alex Abplanalp and Optimedia CEO Steven Chang will now report to Phil Talbot, Zenith Optimedia's regional head. Li's unexpected departure after nine years at ZenithOptimedia, where he is currently its CEO, has raised questions as to whether he was pushed.
Li and Zenith have insisted the two sides had been discussing his retirement. Li also dismissed speculation that his exit was directed by head office. "I planned to retire about two years ago and my decision was supported by headoffice," Li said, adding that he planned to spend more time with his family. "And I won't do any thing related to business after retirement," Li told Media.
In the release on Li's retirement, Talbot said: "Lee is a legend in China... What Lee has achieved for ZenithOptimedia in China has been phenomenal. He took the old Saatchi & Saatchi media department and, with Alex and Steven, created two hugely successful brands in China." But sources claimed that his retirement comes amid a financial audit of the office by Publicis. "Public companies are under greater scrutiny than ever and as a major market, China is subject to greater levels of scrutiny and transparency," said a source.
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