The Punt: Wal-Mart lines up Doug McMillon to restore firm's home fortunes
Wal-Mart, a company that has more employees than Ireland, has named company veteran Doug McMillon to replace chief executive Mike Duke who retires in two months after five years at the helm of the world's largest retailer.
The 47-year-old McMillon is currently head of Wal-Mart's international division, which has seen sales rise sharply in recent years.
Like many US companies such as McDonald's, Wal-Mart is struggling at home as it does battle with other discounters such as Target.
Sales have fallen for the last three quarters while rising 4.1pc overseas.
But Wal-Mart is now rewarding those who soldiered in foreign fields.
Still, it has not all been doom and gloom under Mr Duke's five-year tenure as chief executive.
The company's share price has risen by just over half, although that is still way below the S&P 500.
Mr McMillon (below) has another problem.
The 63-year-old Duke will continue as chairman of the executive committee of the board and stay on as an adviser to McMillon for a year.
Duke will be paid $1.1m (€815m) for that year.
Nice work if you can get it.
Blossoming business gongs
THE great and good of business journalism gathered in Dublin yesterday for a knees-up to celebrate the best business stories of the year, and the Punt was of course in attendance. Recipients included INM special correspondent Paul Williams for the explosive Anglo Tapes story and columnist Richard Curran, who received an Outstanding Achievement award for his 21-year (and counting) career.
Business reporters are a cynical lot -- so it was interesting to watch the whole room be charmed by an advert. The ad in question was aired before lunch by Eircom Wholesale, the awards' sponsor, to promote their expanded broadband services.
It featured, among others, spirited florist Dorothy Aanee, who is in her sixties. She regaled us with tales of how Skype, PayPal, her iPad and online ordering have changed her business -- and how she takes an "anything you can do, I can do better" attitude when it comes to young people and their amazement at her grasp of technology.
She also reminded us that high-speed broadband benefits more than just big businesses and technology companies.
It was nice to see the jaded hearts of a swarm of business hacks be warmed by a plucky florist. We're not made of stone, you know.
AIB brings its brilliance to UK
The Punt couldn't turn on the radio or open a newspaper yesterday without learning how great our nationalised bank AIB is doing.
State-owned AIB is looking for a "partial sale" of the bank in the next few years, chief executive David Duffy told RTE radio in an interview yesterday morning.
He went on the say that the bank was indeed open for business and loans were being sanctioned but the clients were simply not drawing them down.
So perhaps that's why he has looked across the water to the UK, with its booming economy, in the hope that someone will draw down a few loans.
And clearly, going on the huge advert in yesterday's London 'Times', somebody has.
The advert on the paper's business pages shows a beaming businessman informing us that, without AIB's loan fund, his company would not have been able to grow its business by 25pc over the last three years.
Twenty-five percent growth -- it's a figure most companies here could only dream about -- including AIB itself.