GE No. 1 on Fortune list of Most Admired Companies

RP news wires, Noria Corporation

Fortune magazine announced on March 5 that General Electric tops its 25th annual list of America's Most Admired Companies, the second consecutive year the Fairfield, Conn.-based conglomerate has topped the list. General Electric is one of only two companies, along with Johnson & Johnson, who were on Fortune’s first ever most admired list and appear in the top 10 25 years later.

 

Following GE is Starbucks at No. 2, displacing FedEx (No. 6.), and Toyota Motor at No. 3, bumping Southwest Airlines (No. 5). One common theme among the top three most admired companies is their focus on environmental initiatives.

 

Fortune senior writer Anne Fisher writes in her introduction to the list, "In 1982, the year of the first Fortune survey of corporate reputations, green was just the color of money. These days ‘green’ means something more. The three most admired companies this year – General Electric, Starbucks, and Toyota – are building their growth at least partly on strategies and products aimed at helping preserve the planet."

 

The list and related stories appear in the March 19 issue of Fortune, on newsstands March 12 and are currently available online at www.fortune.com.

 

The 2007 edition of the list includes three newcomers, Google at No. 8, Target at No. 13 and Nordstrom at No. 15. At the same time, three companies ranked on last year's list have dropped out of the top 20: Dell (No. 8 in 2006), Home Depot (No. 14 in 2006) and IBM (No. 19 in 2006).

 

Fortune’s America's Most Admired Companies list is the definitive report card on corporate reputations and is the result of a vast corporate survey that questioned more than 3,000 people from 616 companies in 68 separate industries. It features a composite list of the 20 most admired companies in corporate America, along with a separate breakout of where companies rank within their respective industries.

 

The full list of America's Most Admired companies includes: General Electric (No. 1), Starbucks (No. 2), Toyota Motor (No 3.), Berkshire Hathaway (No. 4), Southwest Airlines (No. 5), FedEx (No. 6), Apple (No. 7), Google(No. 8), Johnson & Johnson(No. 9), Proctor & Gamble (No. 10), Goldman Sachs (No. 11), Microsoft (No. 12), Target (No. 13), 3M (No. 14), Nordstrom (No. 15), United Parcel Service (No. 16), American Express (No. 17), Costco Wholesale (No. 18), PepsiCo (No. 19 tie) and Wal-Mart Stores (No. 19 tie).

 

In her article, Fisher notes that while eco-friendliness was hardly a priority in 1982 when the list debuted, it has become a common thread among the companies on the list today.

 

"The handful of companies that have consistently won the applause of their peers over this quarter-century have adapted to the changing environment in ways that Darwin never dreamed of, and they plan to keep it up,” she says. “As even the Bush administration reluctantly acknowledges that hydrocarbon emissions may be imperiling the planet, many of the Most Admired Companies are busy figuring out ways to think green and garner more greenbacks too. United Parcel Service (No. 16) has a fleet of about 1,550 alternative-fuel delivery trucks, including 50 new-generation hybrid-electric vehicles that will cut fuel consumption by 44,000 gallons a year. Goldman Sachs, No. 11 on our list, plans to sink $1 billion into clean-energy investments."

 

In addition, Wal-Mart "hangs on in the top 20 this year, at No. 19, which may be thanks in some measure to its new green strategy that includes everything from cutting back on packaging to pushing more energy-efficient light bulbs."

 

Other facts about the 2007 Most Admired Companies list include:

 

- Three companies made big jumps moving to No. 1 in their respective industries after not appearing on last year's lists: Network Appliance (computer peripherals) ProLogis (Real estate) and Whole Foods Market (food and drug stores).

 

- This year, 32 different companies moved into the top spot as the most admired in their respective industry.

 

- Northwestern Mutual continues a streak where it has ranked first in its industry every year since 1983, the only company to do so.

 

- While Toyota Motor ranks second on the overall most admired list, the company was lapped in the motor vehicles category by BMW who moves up to the top spot from No. 2 last year.

 

- After no American-owned car company made the top five of last year's motor vehicle industry category, General Motors returned by moving up to No. 5, behind BMW (No. 1), Toyota (No. 2), Honda Motor (No. 3) and DaimlerCrysler (No. 4).

 

About the Most Admired Survey
The Most Admired list is the definitive report card on corporate reputations. The survey partners at Hay Group started with the Fortune 1,000 – the 1,000 largest U.S. companies ranked by revenue – and the top foreign ones operating in the U.S. Hay sorted them by industry and selected the 10 largest in each. To create the 63 industry lists, Hay asked executives, directors and analysts to rate companies in their own industry on eight criteria, from investment value to social responsibility. Only the best are listed: A company's score must rank in the top half of its industry survey.

 

To create the top 20, an overall list of Most Admired Companies, Hay Group asked the 3,322 executives, directors and securities analysts who had responded to the industry surveys to select the 10 companies they admired. They chose from a list of companies that ranked in the top 25 percent in last year's survey, plus those that finished in the top 20 percent of their industry. Anyone could vote for any company in any industry. The difference in voting rolls is why some results can seem anomalous; for example, Southwest Airlines is one of the top five Most Admired Companies but is second in its own industry.

 

A total of 616 companies in 68 industries were surveyed. Due to insufficient response, the results of 29 companies in five industries are not reported: health care, pharmacy and other services, home equipment, furnishings, precision equipment, tobacco and printing. Thus, 3M is No. 14 on the overall list even though its industry – precision equipment – did not have enough responses to merit a category.

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