The Annual 2004: The 10 Best strops

1. The phantom e-mailer

Whoever it was who decided to exact revenge on the former Grey London chief executive Garry Lace and send out THAT e-mail would make Machiavelli proud. The e-mail, purporting to be from Lace, went out to his bosses and key industry figures and alleged that Lace was planning to go into business with the managing director of one of the agency's clients, Air Miles' Drew Thomson. The author has never come forward, but the e-mail helped set in motion Lace's departure from Grey six weeks later.

2. Ben Langdon and Mark Wnek

The abrasive pair always looked likely to be a combustible combination, although nobody expected their start-up to blow up quite so spectacularly. "When I was considering doing a start-up, Ben came to me unemployed," Wnek fumed. "I believed in him and gave him a shot and now I don't know what to believe."

3. Andy Law

High in last year's strops list, too, Law delivers again. This time, he features as a result of a barny with his fellow directors at BoymeetsgirlS&J, the husband-and-wife team of David Pemsel and Kate Stanners, over the agency's future direction.

4. Greg Dyke

The BBC's former director-general was left incandescent with rage by what he saw as the craven behaviour of the BBC governors during their confrontation with the Government, which led to his resignation. In his account of the affair, Dyke accused them of behaving like "frightened rabbits caught in car headlights".

5. Big advertisers

Some clients got in such a stew over the extra costs involved in funding the new self-regulatory system for television and radio advertising that they threatened not to cough up the cash. Industry diplomats had to be at their smooth-talking best to get them on side.

6. IPG's shareholders

Interpublic's investors turned very nasty over the poor performance of their stock compared with the huge bonuses paid to senior executives, including a $1 million bonus for its chairman, David Bell. One shareholder complained an IPG share-price chart "only looks good if you turn it upside down".

7. Alain de Pouzilhac

Havas' chief executive got hot under the collar as the corporate raider Vincent Bollore kept raising his stake in the group. All efforts to get Bollore to come clean about his intentions were thwarted. "Given his track record, you have to admit our questions are legitimate," an exasperated de Pouzilhac said.

8. ISBA

The body was annoyed by the news that the IPA was debating the introduction of an agency ratecard to counter the power of client procurement specialists. Agencies seemed to prefer "burying their heads in the sand and to 'blame the client,'" it huffed.

9. David Bedford

The former athlete got his shorts in a twist over what he claimed was the hijacking of his image for the 118 118 campaign's central characters, leading him to lie, suffragette-style, in front of a car at the new 118 118 launch.

10. Robert Saville

He lost his cool when Campaign reported the mini-cab company Addison Lee ranked Mother as the account client whose staff most regularly threw up in its cars. Saville denied all vomiting and fired Addison Lee. Sense of humour rating: 0/10.

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