Most admired? No global players here but close
Wake up and good morning. If you're in business and are asked -- Which companies do you most admire? -- who comes to mind? Fortune magazine just compiled its results with some of the top ten winners ranging from Apple (what happens if Steve Jobs does not return from medical leave?), Berkshire Hathaway and Toyota (No. 1, 2 and 3) to FedEx and Southwest Airlines (tied at No. 7) to GE and Microsoft (No. 9 and 10). Here's Fortune's ranking of the Top 50 which, by the way, does not include any corporations based in Florida. But read on for Florida details, including why you're looking at a rendering of the new headquarters Jabil Circuit wants to build in St. Petersburg.
No surprise there, but the Top 50 list is worth a moment for those companies perceived by their business peers (remember this is not a survey of consumers) as most admirable. Wal-Mart, the retailed people love to hate but shop there anyway, is No. 11. Walt Disney -- Florida's biggest tourist draw -- is No. 12. Wells Fargo, which is slowly absorbing Wachovia and will soon be a dominating brand name in the Sunshine State, is No. 14. And McDonald's, which has shown impressive results during this recession, is No. 16.
Then we have the list every company hates to be on: the Least Admired. Dillards and Circuit City (in liquidation and about to close its doors) get panned for "innovation." Fiat and US Airways get a thumbs down on "product quality." And National City (a bank) and Circuit City (again) rank poorly on "management quality." Here's the ranking of the best and worst based on different categories.
Which brings us to Florida companies. Lakeland-based Publix Super Markets, ranked No. 1 last year among "food and drug" companies, slipped to No. 2 behind Britain's Tesco. Other Florida businesses that fared well in their specialty areas were Juno Beach's FPL Group (No. 1, electric and gas), Fort Lauderdale's AutoNation (No. 2, auto retailing) and Orlando's Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, Red Lobster, No. 4).
No company from the immediate Tampa Bay area qualified as "most admired" in its business niche, but there were "contenders." Clearwater's Tech Data (that's its HQ in the photo, courtesy of the company) ranked No. 6 among wholesale electronics companies and St. Petersburg's Jabil Circuit was No. 9 among an ill-fitting category of "semiconductors."
Other contenders included Jacksonville's CSX Corp. and Burger King and Lennar of Miami. Here's the complete breakdown on Florida companies in the survey.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist