The doyenne of the ad industry talent scouts who has been responsible for helping fill some of its most senior management vacancies. "When I speak to her it will only ever be about a big brief," an agency chief says. "When she calls you about a job you know she's not going to waste your time."
2. GAY HAINES/KENDALL TARRANT
The worldwide chief executive of Kendall Tarrant, the industry's biggest player, Haines joined the company in 1992 from J. Walter Thompson where she was the business development director. She believes headhunting and winning new business have a lot in common: "Both jobs require energy, enthusiasm, commitment and a love of people." She is trusted at senior agency level.
3. JAN MCGREGOR/JAN MAC
Part of a long-running double act with Liz Harold. "Jan always finds the right opportunities for the right people," an agency boss who has had many dealings with her says. "She offers an excellent and bespoke service, understands me and what I'm looking for."
4. HANNAH BROWN/KENDALL TARRANT
She's described as "steely, well-connected and very focused" by one of her regular agency customers. Another says: "She has her finger on the pulse at every level of the industry and seems to be able to cover everything you need."
5. GARY STOLKIN/STOLKIN & PARTNERS
Rated by one agency chief as "standing head and shoulders" above every other headhunter. "He understands the business and its politics and will never send you crap," he says. "He'll also always tell you exactly what he thinks - even if you might not want to hear it."
6. SUZY CHING/KENDALL TARRANT
Kendall Tarrant's creative star-spotter. "As far as I'm concerned she's the only game in town," the creative chief of a top ten agency declares. "She'll never bullshit you and will always tell you if the person she's sending you is likely to have high maintenance costs."
7. LIZ HAROLD
A creative specialist who has a reputation for caring about the people she places rather than just collecting the commission. A leading creative director says: "She comes up with ideas that aren't self-serving and isn't afraid to suggest creative pairings."
8. LINDA STEVENS/THE STEVENS COMPANY
A former media director of Thames TV, Linda Stevens launched her specialist media recruitment agency in 1989. Since then it has become the "Kendall Tarrant" in its field. Like all headhunters, it has suffered from a market slowdown but it has the advantage of not having to operate in the fragmented and highly competitive market of the headhunters working for creative agencies. "In her field she's pretty much the only game in town," a fellow headhunter says.
9. NICKY HORNER/HSR
An account handler and planning specialist who always impresses with her passion for the business . "She always wants to see your latest reel and understand your philosophy so that she can find you the right person," an agency chief says. "She's never sent us a candidate who has proved a complete waste of our time."
10. CAROL LEONARD/LEONARD HULL INTERNATIONAL
Here's one for all those ad executives who want a second career outside the business. A former Times journalist who is now one of the heavy hitters in executive search and the founder of Leonard Hull International, Leonard played a pivotal role in the appointment of the former Railtrack boss, Gerald Corbett, as the chairman of Woolworths.
This article was first published on Campaign