The Annual 2006: Top 10 sales directors

1. SIMON DAVIES, advertisement director, The Mail on Sunday

Davies is your classic Associated Newspapers sales director - a driven and charismatic man in command of an enormous expenses budget. He remains the most popular of the Associated sales bosses, not only because he has got a good product, but he also adopts a more flexible line on selling it than his ratecard-obsessed colleagues on the Daily Mail.

2. NICK BAMPTON, managing director, Viacom Brand Solutions

When the hits (Eton Rifles, Going Underground, The Changingman et al) dried up for Bampton, he made an inspired career switch, opting to head Viacom Brand Solutions, where he's gone on to help reinvent the art of airtime sales. Some still want him to make it up with Bruce Foxton, though.

3. PAUL CURTIS, deputy managing director, Sky Media

For years, people never tired of telling Curtis he should try stepping out of Nick Milligan's shadow. Well, he had a bit of that when Millie went to Sky and Curtis stayed at Viacom. But now he's been reunited with Millie, and the marketplace is starting to realise that this is what Curtis does best - he's Millie's perfect foil.

4. SIMON DAGLISH, national sales director, GCap Media

For some, hardship stretches to no more than the odd overcrowded Tube or occasional hassles catching a waiter's eye. Ex-soldier Daglish likes to embrace more testing scenarios. Earlier this year, he was part of an expedition that recreated Captain Scott's trek to the South Pole in 1912 (except for the bit where they all died), using the same kit Scott's expedition used. Do not mess with this man!

5. NICK HEWAT, sales director, Virgin Radio

When you're not the biggest in the market, you sometimes have to try harder - and Hewat is one of the reasons for Virgin's ability to punch above its weight. He is a hands-on sales director and a great negotiator. He also believes in continuing to service the deal properly once it has been struck.

6. MATT SHREEVE, head of agency sales, Channel 4

Shreeve makes it on to our list despite protests from media buyers, who say that Channel 4 has turned into the new ITV. With the network itself rendered toothless by a Contract Rights Renewal scheme designed to protect advertiser interests, Channel 4 is the only big ratings destination for money being taken off ITV.

7. PETER CHARLTON, sales director, Viacom Outdoor

Charlton's conversion from radio salesman to the outdoor industry has coincided with a cracking year for Viacom, which retained the London Underground contract and won plaudits for its proactive approach to selling the medium.

8. DAVID EMIN, advertising director, Mirror Group Newspapers

Emin, who used to be the ad director at News Group, faces an uphill struggle at the Mirror Group - but buyers are full of praise for the way he's gone about trying to reinvent the sales culture at his new employers.

9. BLAKE CHANDLEE, commercial director, Yahoo!

Extrovert and gregarious, the London media industry's favourite American has redefined the way the online medium is sold over here.

10. GARY DIGBY, managing director, ITV customer relationships

Spare a thought for Digby, a man who once had more power in his little finger than most sales directors accrue in a lifetime. Considering ITV's current woes, he's really had his work cut out. Please give generously.


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