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Financial Times: To The Victors...

Financial Times
OBSERVER: To the victors go the Stevies
April 29, 2003

2002 would not seem like a year full of business achievements in need of celebration. But that is what will happen tomorrow night, when the first American Business Awards, "the Stevies", are presented.

Michael Gallagher, the awards' creator, insists that last year was as good a year as any to begin recognising business excellence. "I thought it was unfair that a few companies had tarred the whole business industry with scandal," he told Observer.

The result is a ceremony that will present honours in 44 categories. The top prizes are best executive - nominees include Debra Lee of BET, Steve Berkowitz of Ask Jeeves and Nextel's Tim Donohue - and best company, with Fannie Mae, KB Home, and RR Donnelly in the running.

Winners receive Stevie, an 8lb, 6½-inch golden figure - created by the same company that makes Oscar.

Gallagher, who hopes the Stevies will be to business what the Oscars are to film, says the hardest part was actually coming up with a name.

After going through books of baby names, "Stevie was left and it doesn't mean anything bad in any language. And the Greek root means crown."

That high-minded stuff aside, Gallagher adds: "I wanted a name that ended in the sound "eee" like Grammy or Emmy." Or money?