General Electric is the World's Most Respected Company, According to Financial Times/PricewaterhouseCoopers Survey

U.S.-Based Corporate Giants Dominate the List

NEW YORK, Nov. 19, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- General Electric has retained the number one slot for the seventh year running in the Financial Times/PricewaterhouseCoopers World's Most Respected Companies rankings. Nine of the top ten companies are U.S.-based, with Microsoft, once again, taking second place and Toyota coming in at third.

Bill Gates is considered the world's most respected business leader, for the third year, with former General Electric chairman Jack Welch in second place - despite having long-since retired - and Carlos Ghosn of Nissan third.

"The companies attracting the strongest and most durable respect are those that continue to innovate, take risks and challenge existing thinking," said Paul Weaver, Global Technology Leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers. "It is no coincidence that so many of the respected leaders are visionary ground-breaking entrepreneurs, and that the rankings for 'dream' board members from history are dominated by pioneering geniuses, ranging from Einstein to Da Vinci and from Edison to JFK."

For the first time since 2001, U.S.-based multinationals, whose reputations were tarnished by the corporate scandals in 2001/2, are climbing back up the rankings, accounting for more than half of the top 50 world's most respected companies. Flying the flag for non-US companies were Germany and the UK, each with six companies in the top 50; Japan with five; and France, the Netherlands and Sweden with two apiece.

U.S.-based companies again dominate the highest echelons of the most respected companies list. Analysis of the top 50 reveals several big-name companies making major strides up the "most respected" table, including Citigroup, Hewlett-Packard, Southwest Airlines, BP, Canon, Ikea, Boeing, Ferrari, Deutsche Bank and BHP Billiton.

In terms of the most respected business leaders, Fujio Mitarai of Canon rose to number 10, and other high climbers included Sam Palmisano of IBM, Donald Trump, Luca di Montezemolo of Ferrari, Leif Johansson of Volvo, Larry Ellison of Oracle, Francois-Henri Pinault of Pinault Printemps Redoute PPR, and easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

"Many high-performing companies maintain their position on this list year-on-year because they have the right boardroom agenda," said Frank Brown, Global Advisory Services Leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers. "At times such as these in the business cycle, organizations need to work hard to maintain a sensible balance between managing downside risk and exploiting upside opportunity."

This year, for the first time, CEOs were asked to choose an individual from history or today to join their company boards - and amongst the leading contenders were Winston Churchill, Jesus Christ, Napoleon Bonaparte, Albert Einstein, Julius Caesar, Leonardo Da Vinci and John F. Kennedy. High on the list of qualities that CEOs most admired in these budding board members were vision, innovation, leadership, charisma and pioneering genius.

Additionally, for the first time, CEOs and fund managers were asked to identify the most innovative companies. Both groups voted Microsoft number one, and they gave agreed top 10 positions to Dell, Nokia, Apple, Sony Ericsson, General Electric and IBM.

The FT/PwC World's Most Respected Companies report is published in today's FT and full results are available at or via

Notes to editors:

 1.  Top Ten:
 World's Most Respected Companies  World's Most Respected Leaders

  1. General Electric     1.   Bill Gates (Microsoft)
  2. Microsoft            2.   Jack Welch (formerly of General Electric)
  3. Toyota               3.   Carlos Ghosn (Nissan)
  4. IBM                  4.   Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway)
  5. Coca-Cola            5.   Michael Dell (Dell)
  6. Dell                 6.   Hiroshi Okuda (Toyota)
  7. Wal-Mart             7.   Jeffrey Immelt (General Electric)
  8. Citigroup            8.   Carly Fiorina (Hewlett-Packard
  9. Proctor & Gamble     9.   Steve Jobs (Apple)
 10. Hewlett-Packard     10.   Fujio Mitarai (Canon)

2. Survey Methodology

This is the seventh year we have conducted this global survey of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) opinion, and this year we have again achieved interviews with more than 1000 respondents and this is across 25 countries.

The core of the survey remains consistent over time, identifying those companies and business leaders globally that are most respected by their peers and the reasons for those choices. In addition, to reflect the increasingly competitive environment in which companies are operating, we have identified those that are seen to excel in areas such as corporate governance, social responsibility and, new for this year, innovation.

The fieldwork was undertaken between August and October 2004, principally by telephone interview but in some cases by written questionnaire or face-to-face interviews. As in previous years, the survey participants come not just from publicly-quoted organizations but also from large subsidiaries and private companies across the 25 countries.

The results are weighted by the GDP figure of the respondent's country (the only measure available across all respondents). This is both to ensure consistency with previous years' results, and to reflect that, rightly or wrongly, there are different levels of global impact achieved by views expressed in different economies. This approach applies to the CEO, fund manager and media/NGO surveys.

Importantly, we have analyzed the unprompted reasons given behind nominations, provi ding a valuable insight into what factors drive respect for companies and business leaders.

The survey methodology provides the ability to track changes in position for companies over time as well as the reasons behind the nomination. This allows an in-depth and credible look at the opinions of CEOs and other relevant stakeholders globally on the most respected companies and business leaders in the world.

 Judith Nicholl & Amanda Briars
 Research & Information, PricewaterhouseCoopers

3. The Financial Times Group, one of the world's leading business information companies, aims to provide a broad range of business information and services to the growing audience of internationally minded business people. The FT newspaper has a daily circulation of over 437,000 is read by more than 1.6 million people worldwide. The FT's website, reaches 3.5 million unique monthly users and has more than 58.2 million monthly page views.

4. PricewaterhouseCoopers ( provides industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services for public and private clients. More than 120,000 people in 139 countries connect their thinking, experience and solutions to build public trust and enhance value for clients and their stakeholders.

"PricewaterhouseCoopers" refers to the network of member firms of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited, each of which is a separate and independent legal entity.


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