1. Mark Collins
The managing director of broadcast trading for Group M is, by virtue of the role, the biggest-cheese media buyer in town, overseeing the largest share of the TV spending pie as well as radio and cinema. When he isn’t negotiating a smooth deal, he likes listening to The Stone Roses and watching The Shawshank Redemption.
2. Adam Pace
Pace leads all digital buying for Omnicom under Annalect. Colleagues and media owners alike praise him for working hard to make what can be a complex area as simple as possible. Pace is credited with displaying great communication and account handling skills that some digital gurus fail to exhibit.
3. Paul Rowlinson
Crafting a stellar reputation as the head of Mindshare’s trading function, Exchange, Rowlinson is passionate about providing integrated solutions that lead the market. He is in charge of 170 planners and buyers working across all media.
4. Azon Howie
As the man who filled the shoes of the veteran Steve Platt, Howie has proven himself to be a worthy successor as the head of trading at Aegis. Measured, thoughtful and open to collaboration, he is well-respected by media owners. Howie is also loyal – he started as a TV buyer at Carat 15 years ago.
5. Dominic Williams
Reporting to Azon Howie but equally as well-regarded is Williams, who is now the head of radio as well as press director for Aegis. When national TV needs a head of press (The Apprentice, for instance), it is Williams they make a beeline for because, as well as being at the top of his game, he always has an opinion.
6. Chris Hayward
The curly-haired Everton fan may not be out partying like he used to, but he remains loyal to the Publicis agency he has worked at for 12 years, quietly plugging away as the head of investment at ZenithOptimedia. This does not mean his intelligence and calibre should be forgotten from a list of the most-respected buyers. Because he is one.
7. Phil Hall
With Claudine Collins promoted to managing director at the end of last year, Hall was promoted to joint head of investment, trading and negotiation. Starting as a TV buyer at MediaCom 13 years ago, he is respected for cutting a shrewd TV deal but also for being transparent.
8. Chris Locke
A terrier of media buying whose bark is possibly worse than his bite, Locke is a colourful character and a bastion of airtime trading. His hold-no-prisoners style of negotiation may ruffle some feathers, but others would say this garners him respect. At Starcom MediaVest Group, Locke has also proven that he’s not a relic from the dark ages and can talk creativity and collaboration as well as the new boys on the TV trading block.
9. Amy King
With Vanessa Clifford moving on to Newsworks and Claudine Collins now the managing director of MediaCom, there is a new magazine maven in town. MPG Media Contacts’ head of press is tenacious, bright and knows magazines and newspapers inside out. Any industry debate about the future of print would be pale without her.
10. Rob Rosenthal
The group buying director at Posterscope is the outdoor buyer on everyone’s lips these days. Described by out-of-home media owners as "passionate, expert and fair" yet "tough when he needs to be", he is also keen to embrace new Postar and trading metrics in order to further enhance the OOH story.