Liz Harold and Jan Mac in merger deal

Liz Harold, the creative headhunter, is merging her operation with the business founded by her former partner, Jan MacGregor.

LIZH and Jan Mac will combine from next Monday to become Liz Harold + Grime, offering a headhunting service that embraces account handling and planning as well as creative.

Harold's partner in the venture is Nick Grime, the son of the veteran creative Steve Grime. He has been running Jan Mac since MacGregor stepped down last year after a headhunting career spanning three decades.

The merger is the culmination of an informal working arrangement between the two companies that began a year ago. The new set-up mirrors the former Harold MacGregor operation, which existed until November 2000, when Harold decided to branch out on her own.

It comes four months after the merger of Kendall Tarrant and Stolkin + Partners, two of the industry's biggest executive search companies.

"We are not doing this because of what Kendall Tarrant and Stolkin have done," Harold said. "But their merger does allow us to position ourselves as a smaller and caring alternative."

Harold will continue to focus on creative searches, while Grime concentrates on account handling and planning briefs.

Harold added: "The demand for talent is as prominent as ever, but we have to keep providing a service agencies are happy to pay for."