New Zealand's largest fast-food operator and their chief executive are in the running to claim an impressive double at the 2018 Deloitte Top 200 Awards.

Russel Creedy and Restaurant Brands were announced as finalists for Chief Executive of Year and Company of the Year.

Also vying for Chief Executive of the Year is Mercury NZ's Fraser Whineray and Kathmandu's Xavier Simonet.

Restaurant Brands, which operates KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks Coffee and Carl's Jr brands in New Zealand, has enjoyed a stellar 2018, reporting a 12 per cent increase in first-half sales on last year.

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The company lifted sales to $431 million, largely on its expansion to Australia and Hawaii.

Restaurant Brands will face stiff competition however from the other two finalists of the Company of the Year award – world's largest marketer of kiwifruit Zespri International and Waikato-based Tatua Dairy Company.

Blue chip dairy company Tatua recorded record revenue and earnings of $127m during the 2017-2018 dairy season. Its group earnings, which equated to $8.62/kg milksolids, bettered that of the previous year's $7.60/kg.

Fran O'Sullivan, who will return as judge and awards convenor, lauded the finalists for standing out from their peers.

"All the finalists are stellar New Zealand companies and individuals who have stood out from their peers in 2018.

"It is particularly pleasing that finalists from the primary and tourism sectors - two sectors which underpin New Zealand's economic success – have featured alongside finalists from key NZ-listed and private companies, two state-owned enterprises and a council-owned company.

"This demonstrates the range and depth of New Zealand business," O'Sullivan said.

Dame Alison Paterson, Samford Maier, Jonathan Mason, Neil Paviour-Smith and Cathy Quinn will form the remainder of the judging panel, while Liam Dann, Chris Moller and Barbara Chapman will judge the Young Executive of the Year category, and Agnes Naera, Stephen Town and Bev Cassidy-MacKenzie will sit on the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership panel.

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Thomas Pippos, Deloitte chief executive, said it was fantastic to have an awards night which celebrates both the performance of New Zealand's major companies and some of their key players.

"It is fantastic to have an awards night that celebrates not only the performance of New Zealand's major companies, but some of the key roles that are integral to their success," Pippos said.

"The chief executive officer, chief financial officer and chairperson are all absolutely key to driving excellence in our largest organisations, while talented young executives underpin the longer term sustainability of these iconic companies."

The awards ceremony will be held on Wednesday 21 November at Spark Arena in Auckland.

Tickets and further information on the 2018 Deloitte Top 200 is available here.

2018 Deloitte Top 200 Awards finalists:

Deloitte and Marsh Company of the Year

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• Restaurant Brands

• Zespri International

• Tatua Dairy Company

Deloitte and ServiceNow Chief Executive of the Year
• Russel Creedy – Restaurant Brands
• Fraser Whineray – Mercury NZ Ltd
• Xavier Simonet - Kathmandu

Chief Financial Officer of the Year
• Jon Raby – ASB Bank
• Mark Royle – Freightways Ltd
• Nigel Greenwood – Synlait Milk

Chairperson of the Year
• Peter McBride – Zespri International
• Liz Coutts – Ports of Auckland
• David Pilkington – Port of Tauranga

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MinterEllisonRuddWatts Excellence in Governance
• Sanford
• Trade Me
• Ports of Auckland

Eagle Technology Young Executive of the Year
• Caroline Rawlinson – Trade Me
• Tasha Impey – TVNZ
• Kayn Miller – Chorus Ltd

2degrees Best Growth Strategy
• Fulton Hogan
• Delegat Ltd
• Skyline Enterprises Ltd

Most Improved Performance
• Skellerup Holdings
• Kathmandu
• Kordia

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Diversity and Inclusion Leadership
• Vodafone
• Downer Group
• SKYCITY Entertainment Group

Sheffield Visionary Leader
• Announced at the awards ceremony

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