Two of the ad industry's best-known head-hunting companies, Kendall Tarrant and Stolkin + Partners, are coming together in a deal that will give them almost total domination of the UK agency recruitment market.
Both parties are poised to sign an agreement under which Kendall Tarrant, part of Hat Pin, the AIM-listed executive search and recruitment group, will acquire Stolkin + Partners in a £1 million-plus deal. The deal has been worked on under the codename Project Salt.
Gary Stolkin, the founder of Stolkin + Partners, will become the chief executive of the merged entity.
Gay Haines, Kendall Tarrant's former chief executive, will become its worldwide chairman, taking an "ambassadorial" role and focusing on senior global contacts on a part-time basis.
The deal will allow Stolkin to capitalise on Kendall Tarrant's global reach. Since its foundation in 1979, Kendall Tarrant has extended its operations into Europe, the US, Latin America and Asia.
The combined operation is expected to account for 85 per cent of the headhunting work that is carried out on behalf of UK ad agencies.
In addition to Stolkin and Angela Campbell-Noe, the Hat Pin chief executive, the new board is likely to include four current Kendall Tarrant managers: Louise Wall, the group business development director; Juliet Timms, the head of account management; Suzy Ching, who specialises in creative briefs, and Paul Billett, the finance director. They will be joined by Lucy Meredith, Stolkin + Partners' creative recruitment specialist.
Stolkin, formerly a managing director of Cromer & Company and a new-business director at Ted Bates, has built a strong reputation among ad agency chiefs.
"He understands the business and its politics and will never send you crap," one said.
Haines, whose agency career included spells at Young & Rubicam, Collett Dickenson Pearce and JWT, has brokered some of the industry's most high-profile signings.
Last year, she was a pivotal figure in the appointment of Garry Lace as the chief executive of Lowe London.
Stolkin, Haines and Campbell-Noe were unavailable for comment as Campaign went to press.