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Brand Quest      (January 08, 2004)

The world of business and economics had its usual dose of winners, losers, opportunities, dead-ends and scandals in 2003. We at Brand Quest have tried to present some interesting facts on the newsmakers of the year through this quiz.

To get answer, point at the ANSWER icon


  1. Hurt by piracy and falling sales of its products, the music industry found scope in the online pay-anddownload format. Napster, in its new avatar as a division of Roxio, and Apple iTunes were the big names. Also in contention was RealNetworks’ format, which was unveiled in May as a co-branded version of its digital music subscription service. That service bears a name whose dictionary meaning goes thus: “A usually instrumental composition of irregular form that often incorporates improvisation.” Which is it?

  2. It calls itself the only 'six-star' hotel in Australia, and all its receptionists go by the name Lois Lane. Nearly a decade back, it failed in its attempt to tap the capital markets. In '03, however, there were no hassles, as it became the first in its category to be publicly traded. Its listing was marked by the appearance of Hollywood's Heidi Fleiss. Want to guess the hotel's name? Okay, here's another clue: Superman might not mind working here, at least for its name!

  3. There were numerous controversies in the US over the awarding of contracts for rebuilding war-torn Iraq. But this one has a Jordanian angle, and is not about business contracts. It's about an Iraqi, a prominent Opposition leader, who hadn't lived in hi s country for 45 years until after the ouster of Saddam Hussein. He was a mathematics professor at the American University in Beirut till '77, and then co-founded the Petra Bank. In 1992, he was charged with committing illegal financial transactions, whi ch led to the bank going bust, and awarded a 22- year prison sentence in absentia by a Jordan court. With the West slotting him favourably in the scheme of things for Iraq, the Jordanian scam came back into spotlight. Who is he?

  4. The year wasn't great for Boeing. It faced one of the worst corporate scandals. Also, for the first time, its rival Airbus delivered more new jets than Boeing. Toward the end of the year, however, the aircraft maker confirmed moves to build its first n ew jet model in 13 years, after failed attempts to develop 747 and build the Sonic Cruiser. What's the model called? Clue: The middle letter in the model's name, according to the company, “can stand for efficiency. It can mean environmentally friendly or even just exceptional. But most important, it will mean e-enable.”

  5. The auction was such a draw that Christie's, which conducted it, had to install video links and additional telephone lines to accommodate the swelling crowds. The $4 million raised that day was given to children's charities. An anonymous French bidder got the 'nose' for $5,00,000 though it was valued at below $15,000. A Moroccan, nostalgic about the “end of an era”, bought two antennae, valued at about $80, for $5,300. What did the auction sell?

  6. The last of its kind: It was in a baby blue version and marked No. 21,529,464. It's not for sale — it has made a German museum its home. The final piece of this brand was adorned with a Mexican flag made of flowers, and accompanied by a band playing El Rey or The King. Which product, brand?

  7. Tourism's big in this Mexican city. But the industry has also created an economic divide, as tourists don't consume local products, preferring what their hotels dish out. The city was once considered a paradise but is no longer so, thank to an increasi ng flow of illegal immigrants. Add to this, the threat of an ecological disaster. The city's underground septic tanks are on the brink of overflowing. On the other hand, the city has played host to numerous conferences, conventions and exhibitions. One s uch mega meet brought the city to international spotlight this year. Can you name the city?

  8. What 'connects' Expert, Dana Spicer Europe, RPG Aventis and Carl Dan Peddinghaus?

  9. The company was incorporated just 10 days after India attained independence. It started manufacturing textiles made from imported raw materials. Now, it's a major producer of viscose staple fibre, sponge iron and caustic soda. A months-long controversy with another company got resolved this year, paving the way for it to lead in the production of another product. Can you name the company?

  10. He earned his MBA from IIM Ahmedabad, after completing his graduation in electrical engineering from IIT Delhi. A stint with the Tata Administrative Service was followed by another shot at academics. He got his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of T echnology in 1991 for his thesis titled 'Essays in Banking.' He spent the next decade teaching financial management, and was selected for a prestigious post this year. Can you name him?

  11. Nordiska Kompaniet, commonly known as NK, means the 'Nordic Company'. The two department stores in Stockholm and Gothenburg that bear this name were started in 1902 by Josef Sachs, who wanted to recreate the shopping environment found in Paris or Londo n stores. It's said that the store in Stockholm draws approximately 12 million visitors annually, and the two stores employ about 1,200 people. But on September 10 this year, the Stockholm store of Nordiska Kompaniet was in the news for the wrong reasons . Why?

  12. He was a product manager in Jagatjit Industries, which he quit and joined this company in December 1974. Over the years, he has been credited with its growth, which saw two successful restructuring processes while he was at the helm. The first revamp w as undertaken with the help of Shombit Sengupta's Shining Consulting while the second one saw the spin-off of one of its business segments into a joint venture with the New Zealandbased Fonterra Dairy. Despite the successes, he was constantly clouded by controversies and was finally removed from his post this year. Who's he?

  13. Schooling in Mylapore, Chennai. Graduation in economics from Vivekananda College, Chennai. Master's from Madras University, PhD from Osmania University, Hyderabad. Diploma in Economic Planning from the Institute of Social Studies, the Netherlands. Join ed the Indian Administrative Service in 1964, three years after working as a lecturer. Whose academic and career profile is this?

  14. A retired Chairman of the Citigroup temporarily replaced this person in the over 200-year-old organisation. Now the President of the Goldman Sachs group has been named to succeed the temporary chief. So, in sequence, John Thain replaced John Reed who r eplaced —?

  15. There were plenty of controversies to write about in '03. One of them forced a corporate executive out of of- fice, with the result that his book Soaring Through Turbulence will not be published in March as scheduled “in the light of recent even ts.” Who's writing this book?

  16. The Indian cricket team stumbled against Australia in the World Cup finals, thereby denying themselves a chance to create history and also an opportunity to earn a lot of goodies! On the eve of the final match, one of the companies had this to offer: “ If the Indian team emerges victorious in World Cup 2003, each of its players, coach, physiotherapist and physical instructor will get a seven-star self-sufficient and fully furnished deluxe apartment.” Which group?

  17. Maruti's IPO seems to have virtually brought alive the market for primary issues. After a string of successes, the latest hit seems to be the IPO of this Gail-, BPCL-promoted company, whose shares rose 150 per cent on debut in December. Further info: this company is the sole supplier of CNG in Delhi. Which is it?

  18. This author has written 18 books, including this bestseller about a Yorkshire woman — the protagonist is named Emma Harte — who rises from an impoverished state to become an entrepreneur, and a successful one too. What's the book's recent claim to fame ?

  19. He might be just 40 but his wealth is in billions. But for political activism, he might have retained control over his company. The judicial investigation against him on charges of fraud has cut short his stint at this company's helm. He is said to be close to two Opposition parties in his country — Yabloko and the Union of Rightist Forces — and this doesn't seem to have pleased the rulers! Who's he?

  20. Softwar. No, the spelling's right! That's the title of the book written by Matthew Symonds, who began work while working as the editor of the technology section of The Economist. The book, published this year, is a biography of this softw are businessman and his company. Clue: He has become famous for his attempted hostile takeovers. Now, that's a giveaway!

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