Tributes paid as top headhunter Wendy Braverman dies

She was a 'match-maker' who spotted many rising talents.

Braverman: described as a 'formidable headhunter'
Braverman: described as a 'formidable headhunter'

Advertising leaders have paid tribute to Wendy Braverman, a leading industry headhunter for a quarter of a century, who has died aged 78.

Braverman worked in agencies, before founding Wendy Braverman & Associates in 1985, and industry contacts recalled how she spotted many rising talents.

Lyndy Payne, who set up a mentoring business with Braverman in 2001, said: “Wendy was one of the foremost headhunters and also a mentor to so many of us. Her immediate instinct for people was intuitive and spot-on.

“The amazing personality together with the warmth of her brilliant wit gave her the ability to help folk in the most positive way. She was a formidable ally, friend and hostess and will be missed beyond measure.”

Dame Cilla Snowball, former group chairman and chief executive of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, added: “She was a formidable headhunter who insisted on quality in her clients and candidates, grilling us all hard before she took us on. She was picky. She was extremely thorough and would always focus on quality over quantity.

“She probed hard on values as well as ability. She didn’t send out many CVs, which saved everyone a lot of time. On the rare occasions she did, it was always a megastar. The combination of their talent, her high standards and weight of approval was incredibly powerful.”

Snowball was running account management at AMV BBDO when she first got to know Braverman. 

“I remember her introducing me to a very young David Jones, who we hired to work on Mars [and went on to run Havas],” she recalled. “She was right about him. She did it all with laughter, generosity and ebullience. She was an active and articulate member of WACL, a joyous friend and a powerhouse.”

Stevie Spring, a former chief executive of Clear Channel and Future, also said Braverman had a knack for identifying personal chemistry between industry leaders.

“Wendy was the ultimate advertising ‘yenta’ (matchmaker),” Spring said. “She was responsible for some of the most important partnerships in the industry, including for me with Tim Broadbent at Y&R.

"I wouldn't have had the career I've had without her gentle hand on my tiller through my advertising years. She was a quiet power behind hundreds of success stories and we all owe her a huge thank you."

Carol Reay, chair of Proquo, recalled: “Wendy was my first boss in advertising at agency Benton & Bowles. The agency was a bit stodgy and staid but Wendy made up for that in spades. She was an account director there and was rebellious, hilarious and so, so smart. 

“Her emphasis was on being brilliant at client servicing but she also played practical jokes once getting her husband to pose internally as a VP at a multinational client company, allowing all and sundry to fawn over him before revealing the joke. She made everything she touched come alive.”

Kerry Glazer, chair of AAR, said: “For nearly three decades, Wendy was the voice that so many of us in this industry sought out when it came to planning our careers. She was straight-talking, no-nonsense and willing to give you a dose of tough love when you needed it. But if you were on her books, she nurtured you and your career like a mum.”

Braverman was married to Philip Kremen and had a daughter, Victoria.

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