1. Mark Collins
Collins’ 2013 got off to a particularly feisty start after he became involved in a very messy and all-too-public spat with Channel 4 over its airtime deals. It was finally resolved with both sides claiming "a draw", but the managing director of broadcast trading for Group M was known to be apoplectic at the time. The UK operation that he spearheads is still the biggest game in town with an estimated 33 per cent market share, but this is set to be challenged by the arrival of Publicis Omnicom Group in 2014.
2. Chris Locke
Always great value, the seasoned "Lockey" only gets better with age. Refreshingly outspoken and fiercely independent, the media industry needs Starcom MediaVest Group’s UK trading director now more than ever. He will happily discuss connected TVs, product placements and media collaboration with anyone but, when it comes down to it, the bottom line will always win the day. It will be interesting to see how he copes as the Publicis Omnicom Group marriage is consummated next year – he has already likened the lack of details to the first rule of Fight Club.
3. Adam Pace
Pace has cemented his reputation as one of the smartest operators in the business at Omnicom’s OPera. The head of digital trading is also taking on more outdoor work after Omnicom moved its account from Posterscope to Talon. Pace, a former TV buyer, was an early adopter of digital and has the ability to talk to buyers in their own language while being genuinely progressive.
4. Azon Howie
Howie continues to justify his position despite the rise of his number two, Dominic Williams. Considered internally to be a savvy trader working across all channels, his approach is often less confrontational than Williams’. As the Aegis Media machine continues to grow, Howie plays a key role as the UK head of trading. He continues to push the boundaries of what the media business can do, with notable work this year for the likes of Shop Direct and Channel 5.
5. Paul Rowlinson
Everyone seems to have time for Rowlinson, who has forged a path for himself as the head of Mindshare’s trading function, Exchange. He will be considered one of the new guard by many of the stalwarts in this list, but he brings strong digital knowledge and an ability to explore integrated solutions.
6. Dominic Williams
Being a dad again and picking up a kidney infection have not dampened the spirits of Aegis Media’s larger-than-life trading director. Though still reporting to Azon Howie, 2013 has seen Williams take on a wider beat. He retains his strong press heritage but has added digital, radio and cinema to the equation. The former rugby hooker is particularly close to its uber-client Asda and played a lead role from the UK side on Carat’s Burberry win earlier this year.
7. Chris Hayward
ZenithOptimedia may not have had the most stable of years, but its head of investment, Hayward, remains a rock. He has been with the agency for 14 years and brings intelligence and a sense of perspective. A self-confessed "old hippy", Hayward tops up his love of Neil Young and early Eagles with an appreciation for Arctic Monkeys. Similarly, his years as a TV specialist have been updated with digital prowess. He calls work this year with Comparethemarket.com and ITV "a template for how a three-way partnership can work". He says: "I still love negotiating and the media’s all far more interesting than it used to be."
8. Phil Hall
As the joint head of investment with Kirsti Wenn at MediaCom, Hall has restructured the buying department this year from a single investment team into three different sectors: Connect, Marketplace and Operations, which is predominantly digitally focused and is the entry point for clients. The move has freed up those in the Connect team to be able to offer more bespoke solutions. He is said to work closely at group level with Mark Collins, but the role of Group M enables him to take a longer-term collaborative approach on campaigns. A well-respected operator, Hall was an invaluable asset for clients such as Maximuscle this year.
9. Alan Brydon
Brydon may be another old hand in this list, but his power is increasing as he takes on a wider group role following the closer alignment of Havas Media and Arena and with his number two, Amy King, on maternity leave. Never short of an opinion and full of stories about the business that his younger counterparts could only dream of, the head of trading adds considerable weight to the challenger group.
10. Danny Barnes
Barnes has been with PHD for 14 years and was promoted last year to the role of head of investment, responsible for all trading. His boss, Daren Rubins, says it is testament to Barnes and his team that he has hit every single audit stretch. His consistent performance is said to have helped PHD retain all of its clients, while he has cultivated an outstanding reputation for himself as someone willing to listen and really make things happen.