Lowe Lintas & Partners has gone to its bench for its top planner in New York, naming Richard Lee evp, executive planning director, effective immediately.
Formerly evp, planning director, Lee reports to New York president Rob Quish and succeeds Richard Monturo, who left recently for TBWA\Chiat\Day [Adweek, Jan. 22]. The 32-year-old Lee will oversee a 35-person department.
In New York, Lee has worked on Sprite and Johnson & Johnson. Upon Monturo's departure, Quish and chairman Gary Goldsmith eyed Lee as a successor. Lee's leading role in the shop's successful pitch for MassMutual further solidified their choice. "He's got a great demeanor because he's calm and at the same time, so credible," said Goldsmith, describing Lee as smart, articulate and attuned to the creative process.
Reflecting on his role, Lee said, "We're here to push the thinking, but [also to] remain grounded in what's real."
The move comes as the $1.8 billion agency seeks to regain its stride after a year of client, management and staffing issues borne of the merger of Lowe & Partners and Ammirati Puris Lintas.
Lee joined the shop last June, after four years at Lowe Lintas in Sydney, Australia—a $70 million shop with about 150 staffers. While there, he rose through the ranks to become regional planning director. Before Lowe Lintas, Lee worked at D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, also in Sydney. He began his career there in 1993, as an account director on M&M/Mars.