Staff Reporters
Nov 10, 2021

40 Under 40 2021: Adrian Lee, South China Morning Post

A career that was kickstarted by a chance conversation has turned out remarkably well for Lee, who has proven himself a world-class leader in online strategy and marketing.

40 Under 40 2021: Adrian Lee, South China Morning Post
Proven performers with plentiful potential in the APAC marcomms industry

Adrian Lee

Senior vice president, audience growth
South China Morning Post
Hong Kong

With a less vocational calling than his doctor and ballerina parents, Adrian Lee graduated from university fluent in French and Italian but with little idea as to a potential career. A chance conversation led to him joining a media agency, and this kickstarted a 14-year career in marketing.

For a career that happened by chance, it’s not been too shabby. With roles in London, Jakarta and Hong Kong, Lee climbed the ranks working for agencies like MediaCom and Wavemaker and has pioneered award-winning work for brands like P&G, Burberry, Coca-Cola, AB InBev, the VW Group and Dell. In search of further career purpose, he joined South China Morning Post (SCMP) in 2019 and is currently the SVP of audience growth, where he oversees new reader acquisition, events and the digital subscription service.

Since joining SCMP, Lee has seamlessly managed the transition from media agency consultant to in-house marketer at a fast-paced, global news organisation. With no prior experience and only a six-week leadtime, Lee launched SCMP’s digital subscription product, which went on to surpass the previous decade-old service subscriber count in a single year.

Content discovery is a critical growth lever for news organisations, and Lee has bolstered reader acquisition by contributing to a 15% to 25% traffic increase in specific key news coverage areas, a 51% improvement in soft news consumption and a 50% increase in Google Discover adoption of SCMP’s content.

Lee leads with a positive attitude, diligence and adaptability and has won SCMP’s internal award for being the most transparent and trusted leader. Lee is also the company’s designated “missions” leader, where he supports other departments’ deliverables and steers how experts from different disciplines interact with one another. This helps ensure that each department’s weekly priorities tie cohesively into a holistic plan that grows SCMP’s business.

Lee is also an ardent supporter of wellness in the workplace. And he is sought after as a speaker at marketing and news conferences. He has delivered keynote presentations at WAN-IFRA’s Digital Media Asia event as well as INMA’s Masterclass series.

Proven performers with plentiful potential in the APAC marcomms industry


Campaign Asia

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