CNBC announced that Melissa Lee and Carl Quintanilla will officially take over as hosts of CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street,” replacing Mark Haines, who suddenly passed away in late May, and Erin Burnett, who left for CNN in May.When Burnett announced she was leaving, we wondered who CNBC would put in her place. The Squawk audience adored her, and it was going to be tough to replace her. We even compiled a list of potential successors, admittedly we didn’t even include Melissa, and asked you to vote (Courtney Regan, followed by Mandy Drury was the people choice).
Anyway, we decided that we shoud compile a dossier on Melissa, since you will be staring at her more and more throughout the day, and spending more time with her than you do with some of your friends.
Firstly, when we were searching for images of Melissa, the related searches that came up were: “melissa lee legs,” “melissa lee boots,” “melissa lee bikini,” “melissa lee cnbc,” and “hot melissa lee.“
Let’s start at the beginning.
Lee’s grandfather immigrated from rural China — where he was a farmer — to Buffalo with his wife and children. Lee herself grew up in Great Neck in New York, and worked every weekend for her parent’s business.
She began reporting for her hometown newspaper, the Great Neck Record, and says she “grew up idolizing New York news anchor Kaity Tong, who inspired” her to become a reporter.
Lee graduated with honours from Harvard with a BA in Government, where she was also assistant managing editor of the Harvard Crimson, according to her CNBC bio. She had intended to be a doctor. She then worked as a consultant at Mercer Management Consulting, where she focused on the banking and credit card sectors.
Then, according to what she told Asiance Magazine,
A couple of years went by and I thought, “You know what? My dream is to be a journalist, so if I don’t try it now, I’m never going to try it.” I was living in Boston at the time and I decided to pack up, move back to New York where my family was, and I took a job as a production assistant, which is basically the entry level job; you print scripts, you run prompter and that’s about as complicated as it gets.
She landed at CNN Financial News, then Bloomberg Television, where she was on the assignment desk. That’s where she got her big break:
One day I said to the producer, “You know what? What do you think of me actually doing one of these pieces I’m assigning? ” He said, “Alright give it a try. Let’s see what you have. Give me the tape and if it’s good, we’ll air it.” It sort of went from there. That was my one big shot and fortunately it worked out.
She joined CNBC in 2004, and when she first started there she covered investment banking, hedge funds and private equity.
Lee also hosts “Fast Money” and once anchored a CNBC documentary called, “Porn: Business of Pleasure.” And when Maria Bartiromo is unavailble, Lee sometimes hosts “Closing Bell,” so that is another indication of the network’s esteem for her.
She says one of the best interviews she’s ever done was with Jim Simons of Renaissance Technologies, since he rarely gives interviews, but one of her more famous segments was when she interrupted Charlie Gasparino after he called Obama a “borderline socialist” on-air.
When asked for 3 words to describe Erin Burnett and Maria Bartiromo, she said: Hardworking, talented, deserve respect.
But the question many of you may be asking is, is she taken. At least, in 2007, the answer was: “ha-ha. No and no.”
Here’s a great interview that CSpan did with Lee, in which she talks about her career.
Others milestones of note:
- She received a 2010 Gracie Award for Outstanding Host-News and a Gerald Loeb Award nomination in 2009 for a CNBC Special Report entitled “Is Your Money Safe? The Fall of Lehman Brothers”
- She has been nominated for two Emmy awards in Business News.