The Punt: Two Irish firms make the grade in new reports
Interesting tidbits in the world of brands in recent days with a new pair of reports out.
One is on the world's most valuable brands and it makes interesting reading from an Irish perspective, in that only two Irish-domiciled companies make the list.
Go on - try and guess what they are.
You'll have done well to have got the answer right, because both of the companies are recent blow-ins.
The top performer based here is Accenture, which made it to 110th spot on the list, while data storage company Seagate Technologies was ranked 447th in the list compiled annually by brand valuer Brand Finance.
Accenture announced it wanted to move to Ireland back in 2009, and Seagate's move here became effective in 2010.
In the overall stakes tech companies ruled the roost.
Apple was tops, followed by Samsung, Google and Microsoft.
Wells Fargo was the most valuable bank brand - coming in 14th, while Toyota was the most valuable auto brand.
Meanwhile, across the Irish Sea, a poll carried out by advertising agency Isobel found that Ryanair is the fourth most-hated brand in the UK.
The Irish airline was sandwiched (geddit?) between Marmite in third place and the UK Labour Party in fifth.
UKIP and the Tories were the most despised.
McDonald's was the 7th most hated and Facebook was 9th most hated.
The most popular brands in the UK were Amazon, Cadbury, Walkers Crisps, Heinz and BBC One.
The Krafty Irishman
US giant Kraft Foods has hired Irishman James Kehoe as its chief financial officer.
The Irishman had been CFO at Canadian clothes maker Gildan Activewear, and his new job marks a return to Kraft where the NUI Galway and UCD graduate previously spent more than two decades.
He left US giant Kraft, which owns Britain's Cadbury, to join Mondelez International and then its Gildan spin out, where he had been CFO for less than two months.
"Kraft is the company where I've built my career, and I'm excited to rejoin at such a critical time and partner again with many of the talented colleagues I know so well," Kehoe said in a statement.
"I look forward to working with John, our finance team and the rest of management to drive Kraft's strategy and performance as we focus on sustainable, profitable growth."
Kraft has been ringing the management changes in recent weeks, after chairman John Cahill took over as chief executive from Tony Vernon.
James Kehoe has a master's in Business Studies from UCD and a commerce degree from University College, Galway.
NRA's drive for advisers
Well this looks like a handy bit of business: the National Roads Authority (NRA) has just advertised for a firm to provide it with financial management services, with a remit that covers a broad range of its activities.
A tender document published this week says that the services provision will cover all the NRA's commercial operations, including Eflow, the Dublin Port Tunnel, motorway service areas and public-private partnership tolling schemes (of which there are eight).
"This lot covers the provision of general financial, audit and advisory services to the authority," the tender notice adds. It will also cover other services, including tax and VAT advice, as well as handling organisational and business process improvements. It says those additional services might include a number of functions, from human resources management services to toll operation advice.
The NRA points out that it's due to merge with the Railway Procurement Agency, but that the timeline for the merger hasn't been finalised.
The bill to merge the entities was published in January last year by then Transport Minister Leo Varadkar. The new agency was due to be called the Transport Infrastructure Service.
But there's light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. The Government apparently intends to merge the agencies before Easter.