Coke Details First US and Overseas Creative Honcho

10 September 2002

In a ground-breaking appointment, agency doyenne Esther Lee has been appointed by Coca-Cola to the new position of chief creative officer for North America.

Lee joins from New York independent shop DiNoto Lee where she was principal and director of strategic development. She is charged with the oversight of media, creative strategy and agencies for all Coca-Cola brands.

Although primarily responsible for the USA, Lee's remit will also cover non-domestic brands and she is expected to spend at least 15% of her time overseas. In the US alone, Coke brands spent $406 million (€413.66m; £260.48m) on media advertising in 2001.

Neither Coca-Cola nor Lee were prepared to comment on the appointment but, as ever, loquacious moles were on hand to spill a few beans.

Apparently Lee will be working with brand teams and agencies to “facilitate top-notch creative and best-in-class advertising,” squeaked one mole. “She was hired as a creative director to tell the creative directors what to do,” informed another.

Then in unison they chorused: “She has the breadth of experience to pull together both the business units and the ad agencies ... to develop strong, compelling advertising.”

Lee will report to Chris Lowe, chief marketing officer for North America.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff