Abba Newbery is joining TAP from Universal McCann, where she was its strategy director, and will occupy a board position at her new agency.
Her appointment is the latest in a line of senior hirings following TAP's decision to buy back its shares from Manning Gottlieb OMD last year.
It has also appointed Paul Longhurst as its managing director, Nigel Breckon as its press director and John Marchant as its sponsorship director as it attempts to grow and shed the tag of being BT's buying agency.
TAP's decision to appoint a senior planner is unrelated to last week's loss of the O2 buying business to Zenith.
Newbery is leaving Universal after less than a year, having joined the agency in June 2003. She was previously a strategy director at Carat and a planner/buyer at J. Walter Thompson Sydney and Zenith Media.
Nigel Allmond, the chief executive of TAP, said: "Abba is an amazing addition to TAP. She blows people away with her intelligence, directness and ability to cut through the crap."
Newbery's past work has included Bailey's sponsorship of Sex and the City while at Carat and activity around Guinness' sponsorship of the Rugby World Cup.
She said: "Joining TAP as it is turning on its heels and radically transforming is a great challenge for me. TAP has a fantastic offering and I'm looking forward to exciting times."