TH€ PUNT: All-rounder Linda ready to tackle UTV sales drive
TV veteran Linda Kennedy has been appointed UTV's sales manager for Ireland. The Limerick woman will be based in Dublin, responsible for growing television, radio and online sales for the company with clients based in the Republic
Ms Kennedy has experience in front of the camera as well as on the sales desk. For two years, starting in 1994, she starred as a presenter on RTE's 'The Swamp', a children's programme that at one point took over from the beloved 'The Den' during the summer season. It was cancelled, to the disappointment of kids everywhere, in 1998.
They say you should never work with children or animals but having shone on-screen, Ms Kennedy went on to be a formidable sales manager. She has 16 years experience in media sales, including stints with Granada Media in London and print media in Cork.
Ms Kennedy is joining UTV at a time of change for the industry. Profits from UTV's television activities were down by almost 40pc in 2012. Revenues continued to fall in the first three months of this year. So company bosses will no doubt be looking forward to what colleagues describe as Ms Kennedy's "infectious energy."
She's also a bit of a rugby star, having won five All Ireland Rugby League and Cup Medals playing with Ballincollig RFC and Young Munster.
There's nothing the Punt likes more than an all-rounder.
Crowley right man for role as retail director at bank federation
MAURICE Crowley has seen it all in banking, but his new role is set to be one of the most challenging of his career.
He has been appointed the new director of retail at the Irish Banking Federation.
This is a role he is well qualified for, having spent 25 years with AIB.
Mr Crowley, pictured, worked in a variety of general management roles at AIB, including head of group investor relations, chief financial officer (Allfirst Bank, USA), head of human resources and market strategy (RoI), head of product management (RoI), and latterly he was programme director for the acquisition and integration of both EBS Building Society and the deposit businesses of the former Anglo Irish Bank.
Mr Crowley, whose brother Vincent is chief executive officer of the publisher of this newspaper, is a chartered accountant. He previously worked with KPMG in Ireland and USA.
All of this experience will be put to the test in the Irish Banking Federation.
The federation is in a state of flux at the moment with the decision of chief executive Pat Farrell to move to Bank of Ireland.
Who knows? Mr Crowley could even end up as the new chief executive of the banking body.
BA boss Walsh waits on Izzard's policies for 2020 London mayor bid
It's no joke – comedian Eddie Izzard is seeking the Labour nomination to be in the running for mayor of London in 2020.
BA and Iberia boss Willie Walsh tells the Punt that he'll look at his policies before he decides whether he'll back Izzard, who's more or less a British national treasure.
"I'll wait to hear what he has to say. He's a very funny guy. I've seen him in concert, but I'd like to see what he's going to do from a political point of view," said Walsh.
Being London mayor is a prestigious role and one where real power can be wielded in the city.
Transvestite Izzard (51), who performed at the O2 in Dublin last weekend, says he wants to run for the post in the 2020 election (there'll be another vote before that). A straw poll held this week by 'Time Out' suggests that 90pc of respondents would vote for Izzard. "I'm serious about it," he told the magazine. "I'm not mucking about."
Walsh – who says he has no political affiliations – voted for incumbent Boris Johnson, but didn't like his predecessor, Ken Livingstone.
"I've met Boris several times and I like him. We disagree completely on the issue of Heathrow (Johnson wants a major new airport built on the Thames estuary) but I agree with a lot of what he does. I like him better as an individual than Ken Livingstone. I met him as well. I didn't particularly like the guy."