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.

Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble
Top 20 rank: 8
Rank in Soaps and Cosmetics: 1
As a Navy veteran, A.G. Lafley knows that turning around an aircraft carrier can't be done on a dime. Neither can turning around a mature conglomerate. That is the task Lafley assumed in 2000, after the company had suffered two profit warnings.

But like a ship, once the change in direction is made, a company can gain a certain momentum. And that has been the case with P&G, whose adjusted stock price has more than doubled on Lafley's watch. The key to P&G's success: strategic focus, innovation, and internationalization. Lafley's next challenge: to make sure he has trained his officers to take command.  -Cait Murphy
See how Procter & Gamble 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
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)