Top 20 Most Admired Companies

To create the top 20, Fortune and its survey partners at Hay Group asked the experts -- in this case, more than 3,700 people from dozens of industries -- to select the 10 companies they admire most. This year's winners all have strong records of innovation, leadership, and financial strength -- and their employees know it.

Costco Wholesale
Costco Wholesale
Top 20 rank: 14*
Rank in Specialty Retailers: 1
Costco CEO James Sinegal is a stickler for keeping prices low. The savings he wrings from suppliers are often passed on to consumers, sometimes to the chagrin of investors. But the stock is up 12% over the past year, bucking the general retail trend. With $64 billion in sales (more than Wal-Mart's Sam's Club), a 50-million-strong membership base, and loyalty among hourly employees for its generous compensation, it's no wonder Costco (tied with BMW) has joined the ranks of the Most Admired Companies.  -Suzanne Kapner
See how Costco Wholesale rates in 8 key areas
Last updated March 03 2008: 2:10 PM ET

Apple

Berkshire Hathaway

General Electric

Google

Toyota Motor

Starbucks

FedEx

Procter & Gamble

Johnson & Johnson

Goldman Sachs

Target

Southwest Airlines

American Express

BMW

Costco

Microsoft

UPS

Cisco Systems

3M

Nordstrom
* Tied with BMW
Most admired: Full list See how 317 top companies rate in 8 key areas. (more)
Most admired in your state California is home to the most corporations on this year's list. See the top-rated firms near you. (more)
Game: How admirable are you? Can you match each quote to the Most Admired company it refers to? See how admirably you score. (more)