Despite her perch, Ms. Green remains amazingly hands-on. Some consider her a not-so-secret weapon in the agency's new-business hot streak, in which Zenith's U.S. operations have doubled to $5.3 billion in billings since 1998, despite the ad recession. Ms. Green often negotiates deals personally, particularly in upfront. "No matter who the client is, their dollars are very dear," she says.
Her reputation for fair dealing with those on the other side of the negotiating table, built over time, is a huge plus, industry players say. In this year's resurgent upfront, where an estimated $8.1 billion in prime-time network TV time changed hands in a rapid-fire four or five days, Ms. Green held the line on prices for her clients, booking early. "I don't want to talk about how we did vs. everybody else, but it was an excellent year," says Rick Hosfield, VP-advertising at General Mills. "She clearly called the marketplace."