The Leagas Delaney chairman, Bruce Haines, is poised to become the IPA's next president in a move aimed at easing the arrival of the agency body's new director-general next year.
The hope is that Haines' long involvement with the IPA - he has served on its council for almost a decade and been a member of some of its key committees - will make the transition easier for Nick Phillips' successor after Phillips retires next summer. Shortlisted candidates are due to be interviewed next month.
Haines was formally adopted as the presidential candidate by the IPA's council last week, and, if elected, will succeed Rupert Howell, the HHCL & Partners chairman, when his two-year term of office ends in April.
His selection ends what has traditionally been a difficult task of finding an industry figure of sufficient stature and able to commit up to a third of their working week to the IPA.
Haines was judged a suitable candidate, having run one of the country's best-regarded creative agencies. He recently swapped the chief executive's role for the chairmanship of Leagas Delaney, which he helped draw out of the doldrums in the 80s.
Haines will be expected to be proactive in the defence of advertising freedoms, including threats to curb advertising to children.
He said: 'I have some ideas I'd like to pursue but first I want to see how closely they coincide with those of IPA members. Rupert will be a very hard act to follow.'