Hot in 2019: Top 10 media buyers

A look back on the best of our industry in 2019.

Clockwise from top left: Din, Ballinger, Walsh, Bevan, Overend, King, Maloney, Mullins, Dibben and Collins
Clockwise from top left: Din, Ballinger, Walsh, Bevan, Overend, King, Maloney, Mullins, Dibben and Collins

10 John Maloney 

Global chief investment officer, M/SIX

Maloney is heavily focused on the UK, even after adding a global role in July, and serves clients such as Toyota and News UK. Media Fight Night, his white-collar boxing charity event, has now raised £800,000 in five years. 

9 Kerry King 

Investment partner, MediaCom North

King is based in Manchester and drives the revenue outside London. She is open to new ideas and research and holds her own with the wider industry, plus she is "smart and fun", one media owner says.

8 Simon Bevan

Chief investment officer, Havas Media Group

The former Dentsu executive has made the numbers add up in a string of pitches, from the Hyundai Kia defence to the Homebase and Starbucks wins, and was a judge on this year’s Media Week Awards. 

7 Emma Dibben

Head of print brands and media partner engagement, Wavemaker

Dibben is one of the biggest champions of news and magazine brands in the UK media agency sector. The one-time IPC ad sales executive’s collaborative approach played a part in helping Wavemaker win best agency partner at the Media Week Awards for the second year in a row. 

6 Chris Walsh

Head of investment, PHD UK

This savvy buyer and progressive thinker works closely with the agency’s planning team to balance the twin needs of brand and performance, for clients such as Stars Group, a big win for PHD Manchester this autumn, and Sainsbury’s Group. 

5 Bobby Din

Investment partner, Goodstuff Communications

Din is an enterprising operator, who stepped up this year with the launch of G Force, an innovative idea to provide buying capabilities for other agencies, including Craft and Love Sugar Science, which are loosely allied with Goodstuff. An ex-Mindshare executive, Din has helped the independent shop establish its credentials for media invention.

4 Liam Mullins

Managing partner, the7stars

Mullins is a street-smart deal-maker who has an intelligent eye and knows how to have fun. He has been at the7stars for more than a decade, during which it has grown tenfold to become the biggest independent, with a big focus on transparency. Mullins has been a key driver of a new tech hub as the 

3 Steve Ballinger

Managing director of commercial trading, Dentsu Aegis Network

"Bally" has had the tough task of delivering deals at a time of major client and internal leadership upheaval at Dentsu as some of the functions of trading arm Amplifi have been folded back into the UK agencies. Winning Vodafone, Beiersdorf and the Co-operative Group has helped from a billings perspective and, in contrast to some of his publicity-shy peers, Ballinger has been willing to be a vocal advocate for addressable TV.

2 John Overend

Chief investment officer, Omnicom Media Group UK

Few traders in UK media have been as successful at avoiding the limelight as Overend, who has been a key figure in improving transparency for clients such as the UK government and Barclays. He has been a steady hand at a time of leadership change across Omnicom’s UK media operation. 

1 Mark Collins

Chairman of investment, Group M UK

"He is just way ahead of the game but at the same time can be disarmingly charming," one media owner says of the man who oversees a third of UK agency spend. Trading is changing fast in a digital age where brains matter as much as buying power, and Collins has been adapting his deals.

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