Christmas Quiz 1997: A year of windfalls, downfalls, mergers, break-ups , rising rates and white-knuckle rides on the markets

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1) What is the grand total for the emergency international loans put together for the troubled South-east Asia region in 1997? (a) $50bn; (b) $100bn; (c) $200bn?

2) Which of the G7 leading industrial nations has the lowest unemployment rate? Which has the lowest inflation rate?

3) Who has to write a letter of apology to whom whenever he misses his target by more than 1 per cent?

4) How many building societies converted to banks this year and what were their names?

5) How many times have interest rates risen since Labour came to power?

6) Who publicly apologised after discovering thousands of his company's customers had died awaiting compensation for pension mis-selling?

7) Who is nicknamed "Stalin's Granny" and frightens the life out of miscreant life insurers?

8) What is the name of the mammoth City regulator launched this year and who is in charge of it?


9) Which company failed to pull off the UK's biggest ever takeover after being outbid three times in the US?

10) Which bookselling entrepreneur launched an audacious pounds 1bn offer for his former employer?

11) Who is Carol Galley, the Queen of Goldrush City, working for now and why?

12) Who was the former high school basketball coach who defeated the UK's biggest ever takeover bid?

13) Which two sets of banking initials were condensed into one?

14) Which aerial merger did Europe and the US threaten to go to war over?

15) Which famous drinks name disappeared from the stock market after 111 years?

16) Name another famous corporate name which was consigned to the dustbin after a fashionable demerger?

17) In a year when silly-sounding name changes became in vogue which companies were re-badged as Elementis, Arriva, Arcadia and Diageo?

18) Which two supermarket groups were considering a merger only to find their nuptials disrupted before they could even start down the aisle?


19) Who swapped the high street for a top job at BT?

20) Which American woman was the surprise choice to run a very British conglomerate?

21) Which finance director switched from pharmaceuticals to defence electronics?

22) Which senior retailer risked accusations of nepotism when he appointed his 29-year-old son as a director of Next?

23) Which other Lord promoted his young son to the board of his carpet empire?


24) Which mother-of five flew to Frankfurt in a vain attempt to save her bank job?

25) Who got the order of the boot after failing to revive the fortunes of an ailing retail chain?

26) Which investment banker lost his top job after a Greek trader's mispriced options cost the business pounds 78m.

27) Which nuclear chief executive quit after being refused the chairman's job?

28) Which industry regulator announced he would hang up next year and search for a new challenge? And where did he find it?

29) Which four-times married American woman conceded defeat and left her pounds 1m-a-year job as chief executive of troubled Laura Ashley as her aggressive recovery plan ended in tatters?

30) After 38 years batting for Tesco, who retired from the supermarket giant to take up a top job in cricket?

31) Which combative television executive, dubbed "the bruiser of the box", left BSkyB due to his deteriorating health?

32) Name the South African who made a dog's breakfast of his petfood company and resigned as the group headed towards break-up.

33) Who retired for the second time as chairman of a house-building company?


34) Which property tycoon won the battle for Nottingham Forest football club?

35) Name the Everton chairman whose Park Foods business had problems when its JD Spuddles potato snack flopped disastrously?

36) Which football club's owners have formulated plans to build the second-biggest sports and leisure complex in the country after Wembley?


37) Name the 31-year-old entrepreneur who together with his fellow bidders, was accused by a high court judge of "the clearest case of a gross, wilful and disgraceful breach of confidence" after his audacious pounds 1bn break-up bid for the Co-op ended in failure.

38) Which blue-blooded investment bank backed the Co-op bidder, was later forced to apologise for its behaviour and ended up being sold to a French rival?

39) Who was filmed handing over confidential documents to whom in a Beaconsfield hotel car park?

40) Which book publisher discovered a pounds 100m error in its US accounts?

41) The entire board of which Japanese securities house resigned in the wake of a racketeering scandal?

42) Which US investment bank was fined pounds 350,000 for trying to manipulate the FTSE100 Index?

43) Who paraded in central London with placards describing National Grid as "National Greed" and why?

44) Scottish Amicable was the target of a three-way bid battle after its policyholders ditched proposals to demutualise from its own directors. Who won the bid battle?

45) What was the nickname of the Yasuo Hamanaka, the rogue trader who was revealed this year to have salted away $1.5m in a Swiss bank account as he carried out unauthorised copper trades?


46) Who arrived in a new job with the words "Have a plan, execute it violently and do it today?"

47) Who said, on getting the top job at a well-known high-street retail chain: "I know they say I'm a decrepit old fart from inside the company. But I'm not."

48) "Having stood alone for so many weeks taking all the flak, I am delighted that the true story surrounding the CWS is beginning to emerge.... The advice Galileo paid so many millions for ... was inept." Who made this claim as his bid disintegrated amid a flurry of writs?

49) "It clearly would be unrealistic to look for a continuation of stock market gains of anything like the magnitude of those recorded in the past couple of years." Who said this nearly a year after warning the markets of "irrational exuberance"?

50) "This unexpected situation on our 100th anniversary is heartbreaking .... As a representative of the company, I am deeply sorry." Who wept as he said this?


1. (b) just under $100bn.

2. Japan has an unemployment at 3.4 per cent. France has an inflation rate of just 1 per cent.

3. Eddie George, Governor of the Bank of England, to the Chancellor Gordon Brown whenever inflation falls below 1.5 per cent or climbs above 3.5 per cent.

4. Six: Halifax, Woolwich, Alliance & Leicester, Bristol & West (bought by Bank of Ireland) and Birmingham Midshires (to be bought by Royal Bank of Scotland).

5. Five times and they have gone from 6 to 7.25 per cent.

6. Sir Peter Davis, group chief executive of the Prudential.

7. Helen Liddell, economic secretary to the Treasury.

8. The Financial Services Authority, chaired by Howard Davies.

9. BT, which failed to buy MCI after being outbid by WorldCom (twice) and GTE.

10. Tim Waterstone, who bid for W H Smith.

11. Merrill Lynch after it took over Mercury Asset Management.

12. Bernard Ebbers, the chief executive of WorldCom, the US long distance phone group. He stunned the markets with an audacious $30bn bid for MCI, the US long distance giant, after BT was forced to cut the price of its own takeover offer.

13. SBC and UBS became United Bank of Switzerland.

14. The Boeing-McDonnell Douglas merger.

15. Guinness.

16. Burton.

17. Harrisons & Crosfield; Cowie Group; Burton's multiples business after the Debenhams demerger; and Guinness and Grand Metropolitan after their mega-merger.

18. Asda and Safeway whose talks over a possible pounds 9bn merger were leaked in September.

19. Bill Cockburn.

20. Marjorie Scardino, made chief executive of Pearson.

21. John Mayo, who left Zeneca for GEC.

22. Lord Wolfson, chairman of both Next and Great Universal Stores. He promoted his son Simon to the board.

23. Lord Harris of Peckham, head of Carpetright, who named his 28 year old son Martin to marketing director.

24. Nicola Horlick, who flew to the headquarters of Deutsche Morgan Grenfell to protest at being sacked.

25. Liam Strong from Sears.

26. Martin Owen left NatWest Markets after losses run up by Kyriacos Papouis.

27. Dr Robert Hawley of Nuclear Electric.

28. Don Cruickshank of Oftel who leaves in April and has been put in charge of Action 2000, the body responsible for tackling the millennium computer bug.

29. Ann Iverson.

30. Lord MacLaurin.

31. Sam Chisholm.

32. Richard Clothier of Dalgety, the Felix and Winalot group.

33. Sir Lawrie Barratt of Barratt Developments. He previously retired in 1988 and returned in 1991. Frank Eaton succeeds him.

34. Nigel Wray of Burford Properties who together with Irving Scholar and Phil Soar defeated a consortium led by Marjorie Scardino's husband, Albert.

35. Peter Johnson.

36. Leeds United.

37. Andrew Regan.

38. Hambros.

39. Allan Green of the CWS giving sensitive Co-op figures to Andrew Regan.

40. Penguin.

41. Nomura.

42. J P Morgan.

43. Pensioners from the Grid protested outside the High Court after the company challenged a ruling which ordered the company to repay pounds 44m to its pension fund. The pensioners lost the case.

44. Prudential. The other bidders were Abbey National and AMP, the Australian insurer.

45. Mr Five Per Cent.

46. Marjorie Scardino, chief executive of Pearson.

47. Richard Handover on becoming chief executive of W H Smith.

48. Andrew Regan.

49. Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

50. Shohei Nozawa, president of Yamaichi, once Japan's fourth largest stockbroker.