After almost a decade in various roles within the IAA, Lee's contract expires in March next year. He joined the association in 2002 as senior vice-president, became chairman and world president in 2004 and finally executive director in April 2006.
Following his departure, Lee will initially focus on his media and communications company Lee and Steel, which will be twenty years old in 2011. In an email to Campaign, Lee said it is likely that he will continue to be involved with IAA project and events in some capacity.
Speaking of his departure, Lee said, "It's been a privilege to have had a decade in leadership roles at the IAA. Amid unprecedented challenges to our industry the association is stronger than ever."
"The IAA has significantly raised the bar for global ad industry conferences and events and brought the industry and world to work together on key issues, notably the 2009 award-winning Hopenhagen climate-change campaign in support of the United Nations," he added.
In an official statement, IAA world chairman and president Alan Rutherford expressed his gratitude for Lee's decade of service.
He added, "We will be working with Michael through this transition period to find a successor and expect to continue our association with him through several projects."