'First, I took a considerable gamble employing her 25 years ago as a junior trainee account executive at my consumer PR company Partner Plan.
'She joined from a role as secretary to the all-male team on the William Hickey gossip column in the Daily Express, where she had gathered a remarkable command of English swear words and the ability not to be fazed by anything or anyone.
'Then, when I became CEO of Hill & Knowlton in the UK in 1986, I brought her from Extel to be head of marketing communications.
'Direct, loyal, amusing and immensely competitive, she was - and is - a star.'
Marie-Louise Windeler is Hill & Knowlton London CEO.