The List of Industry Champs
By Kate Bonamici

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Webster's defines admirable as "deserving the highest esteem: excellent." That definition certainly suits the corporations that make the grade in our 24th annual ranking of America's Most Admired Companies. With several new industry categories, and some interesting changes at the top--Nike's taking first place from Liz Claiborne in apparel, KB Home's rising from third to first among homebuilders, Exxon Mobil's edging out BP--this year's list is a dynamic snapshot of the corporate world. For the complete industry rankings, turn the page.

WHERE COMPANIES RANK IN THEIR INDUSTRIES

THERE IS NO HIGHER PRAISE than the respect of one's peers. These companies rank in the top half of their industry, as chosen by those in the same industry.

FINANCIAL INDUSTRY

1. Securities

2. Megabanks

3. Superregional Banks

4. Financial Data Services

5. Mortgage Services

6. Insurance: Life and Health

7. Insurance: Property, Casualty

• Not ranked last year. One of three new categories replacing computer and data services. Rank in computer and data services last year.

CONSUMER PRODUCTS

8. Food Production

9. Beverages

10. Consumer Food Products

11. Apparel

12. Household, Personal Prods.

13. Tobacco

• Not ranked last year. Rank in consumer food products last year. Acquired Gillette (2004 rank: 6), Sept. 30, 2005.

CONTRACTED SERVICES

14. Diversified Outsourcing

15. Temporary Help

16. Health Care: Insurance

17. Health Care: Med. Facilities

• Not ranked last year. One of two new categories replacing health care. Rank in health care last year. Acquired by UnitedHealth Group, Dec. 20, 2005. Acquired by Wellpoint, Dec. 28, 2005.

SHELTER

18. Furniture

19. Homebuilders

20. Real Estate

21. Home Equipment, Furnishings

22. Engineering, Construction

23. Building Materials, Glass

• Not ranked last year. Category rejoins survey this year.

STORES AND DISTRIBUTORS

24. Wholesalers: Electrn., Office

25. Wholesalers: Diversified

26. Wholesalers: Food, Grocery

27. Wholesalers: Health Care

28. General Merchandisers

29. Specialty Retailers

30. Food and Drug Stores

31. Food Services

• Not ranked last year. Changed name from TruServ. Changed name from Patterson Dental.

NATURAL RESOURCES

32. Mining, Crude-Oil Production

33. Metals

34. Pharmaceuticals

35. Packaging, Containers

36. Chemicals

37. Forest and Paper Products

COMPUTERS AND COMMUNICATIONS

38. Computers

39. Internet Services, Retailing

40. Computer Peripherals

41. Computer Software

42. Telecommunications

43. Network Communications

44. Information Tech. Services

• Not ranked last year. One of three new categories replacing computer and data services. Changed name from SBC Communications after acquiring AT&T Corp., Nov. 18, 2005. Changed name from Sprint after acquiring Nextel Communications (2004 rank: 5), Aug. 12, 2005. Rank in computer and data services last year.

POWER

45. Petroleum Refining

46. Electric and Gas Utilities

47. Energy

48. Oil and Gas Equipment, Svcs.

49. Pipelines

• Not ranked last year. Changed name from ChevronTexaco.

MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT

50. Entertainment

51. Publishing

52. Hotels, Casinos, Resorts

Changed name from Viacom, Dec. 29, 2005, after spinning off the new Viacom. Acquired Caesars Entertainment (2004 rank: 8), June 13, 2005. Acquired Mandalay Resort Group (2004 rank: 4), April 25, 2005.

PRECISION

53. Semiconductors

54. Electronics

55. Medical Products, Equip.

• Not ranked last year.

THINGS THAT MOVE

56. Airlines

57. Motor Vehicle Parts

58. Industrial and Farm Equip.

59. Transportation, Logistics

60. Railroads

61. Delivery

62. Aerospace and Defense

63. Trucking

64. Automotive Retailing, Svcs.

65. Motor Vehicles

• Not ranked last year. Changed name from Yellow Roadway.

INDEX

INDUSTRY COMPANY/SCORE NUMBER

Abbott Laboratories 6.68 41

Accenture 7.63 38

Adobe Systems 7.35 35

Advanced Micro Devices 7.30 50

Aetna 7.53 16

Aflac 6.71 6

Airgas 7.03 25

Alaska Air Group 5.34 56

Alcan 6.79 40

Alcoa 7.40 40

Alexander & Baldwin 6.08 59

Allstate 6.99 7

Altria Group 8.05 13

Amgen 6.99 41

AMR 5.41 56

Anadarko Petroleum 6.45 39

Analog Devices 6.52 50

Anheuser-Busch 8.03 9

Apache 7.08 39

Apple Computer 7.14 32

Applied Materials 7.40 50

Aramark 7.14 14

Arkansas Best 6.09 63

Arrow Electronics 6.80 24

ArvinMeritor 5.98 57

AT&T 7.09 36

AutoNation 6.25 64

Avon Products 6.43 12

Baker Hughes 6.62 48

Ball 6.90 42

Bank of America 7.43 2

Bank of New York 7.35 3

BASF 7.33 43

Bayer 6.50 43

BB&T Corp. 6.25 3

Bear Stearns 6.04 1

Becton Dickinson 7.20 52

BellSouth 6.34 36

Bemis 6.03 42

Berkshire Hathaway 7.88 7

Best Buy 7.56 29

BJ Services 6.94 48

Black & Decker 6.75 58

BMW 7.17 65

Boeing 6.63 62

Boston Properties 7.42 19

BP 8.06 45

Bridgestone 5.63 57

Brinker International 6.68 31

Brink's 5.36 61

Bunge 7.14 8

Cardinal Health 7.22 27

CarMax 6.76 64

Caterpillar 7.22 58

CBRL Group 6.60 31

CBS 6.23 53

CDW 7.59 24

Centex 6.79 22

Chevron 7.96 45

CHS 7.65 26

CH2M Hill 6.58 21

Chubb 7.20 7

Cintas 6.58 14

Cisco Systems 7.44 37

Citigroup 7.20 2

Claiborne (Liz) 7.51 11

CNF 6.19 59

Coca-Cola 6.02 9

Colgate-Palmolive 6.76 12

Comcast 6.72 36

ConocoPhillips 7.00 45

Continental Airlines 7.36 56

Convergys 6.78 14

Corning 6.89 37

Corn Products International 6.47 8

Costco Wholesale 7.23 29

Countrywide Financial 6.21 5

CVS 6.37 30

DaimlerChrysler 5.80 65

DaVita 5.73 17

Deere 7.26 58

Devon Energy 6.28 39

Disney (Walt) 8.39 53

Dominion Resources 6.73 46

Dow Chemical 7.31 43

DST Systems 7.15 4

Duke Energy 7.02 47

Dun & Bradstreet 7.49 4

DuPont 7.58 43

eBay 7.37 33

Edwards (A.G.) 5.26 1

Electronic Arts 6.98 35

Electronic Data Systems 5.73 38

EMC 7.63 34

Emerson Electric 6.75 51

Enbridge Energy Partners 6.80 49

Entergy 6.71 46

Enterprise Products Partners 6.92 49

Exelon 8.25 46

Expeditors Intl. of Washington 6.91 59

ExpressJet Holdings 5.22 56

Exxon Mobil 8.27 45

Federated Department Stores 6.23 28

FedEx 7.96 61

First Data 7.30 4

Fisher Scientific International 6.66 25

Fluor 6.39 21

FMC Technologies 7.95 48

Fortune Brands 7.85 20

FPL Group 7.70 46

Franklin Resources 5.32 1

Gannett 6.18 54

Genentech 7.43 41

General Dynamics 6.67 62

General Electric 8.20 51

General Mills 7.37 10

Georgia-Pacific 6.34 44

Golden West Financial 7.90 5

Goldman Sachs Group 5.82 1

Goodyear Tire & Rubber 5.58 57

Google 7.60 33

Grainger (W.W.) 6.66 25

Granite Construction 6.12 21

Graybar Electric 6.53 24

Half (Robert) International 7.31 15

Harrah's Entertainment 7.10 55

Hartford Financial Services 6.77 7

HCA 6.80 17

Health Management Associates 7.16 17

Hewlett-Packard 6.80 32

Hilton Hotels 7.53 55

HNI 7.19 18

Home Depot 7.82 29

Honda Motor 6.33 65

Host Marriott 6.96 19

Hughes Supply 6.82 25

Hunt (J.B.) Transport Services 7.15 63

IAC/InterActiveCorp 7.26 33

IBM 7.31 32

Illinois Tool Works 7.41 58

Ingersoll-Rand 6.63 58

Ingram Micro 6.18 24

Intel 7.35 50

International Paper 7.45 44

Intuit 7.70 35

Iron Mountain 6.70 14

ITT Industries 6.82 58

Jacobs Engineering Group 6.94 21

Johnson Controls 7.67 57

Johnson & Johnson 7.63 41

KB Home 7.29 22

Kellogg 7.10 10

Kiewit (Peter) Sons' 6.66 21

Kimberly-Clark 6.31 12

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners 7.33 49

Kroger 6.96 30

LandAmerica Financial Group 5.63 5

Landstar System 6.57 63

Lauder (Estée) 6.96 12

Lear 6.57 57

Leggett & Platt 6.83 18

Lehman Brothers Holdings 6.09 1

Lennar 6.66 22

Lexmark International 6.84 34

Lilly (Eli) 6.76 41

Limited Brands 6.65 29

Lithia Motors 6.20 64

Lockheed Martin 6.79 62

Lowe's 7.08 29

Manor Care 6.86 17

Manpower 7.48 15

Marriott International 7.69 55

Martin Marietta Materials 6.50 23

Masco 5.75 20

Massachusetts Mutual Life 6.52 6

McDonald's 6.73 31

McGraw-Hill 6.44 54

McKesson 6.77 27

MeadWestvaco 5.95 44

Medtronic 7.64 52

Merrill Lynch 6.18 1

MGM Mirage 7.08 55

Microsoft 7.15 35

Miller (Herman) 7.87 18

Motorola 7.42 37

MPS Group 5.36 15

M&T Bank Corp. 6.63 3

Nestlé 7.97 10

Newell Rubbermaid 5.99 20

News Corp. 6.13 53

New York Life 6.97 6

New York Times 6.96 54

Nike 7.68 11

Nissan Motor 6.00 65

Nordstrom 8.07 28

Norfolk Southern 5.71 60

Northrop Grumman 6.68 62

Northwestern Mutual 7.42 6

Nucor 6.94 40

Occidental Petroleum 6.32 39

Oneok 7.36 47

Owens Corning 5.90 23

PacifiCare Health Systems 6.72 16

Pactiv 7.26 42

Patterson 6.07 27

Peabody Energy 7.00 39

Penney (J.C.) 6.50 28

PepsiAmericas 6.34 9

Pepsi Bottling Group 7.32 9

PepsiCo 7.83 10

Performance Food Group 6.45 26

Perot Systems 6.56 38

Phelps Dodge 6.01 40

Pilgrim's Pride 6.79 8

Pitney Bowes 6.63 32

Plains All American Pipeline 6.67 49

Plum Creek Timber 6.01 44

PNC Financial Services Group 5.91 3

Polo Ralph Lauren 7.08 11

PPG Industries 6.60 43

Procter & Gamble 8.45 12

Progressive 6.98 7

Publix Super Markets 7.96 30

Pulte Homes 7.08 22

Qualcomm 7.57 37

Reynolds American 7.14 13

Robinson (C.H.) Worldwide 6.82 59

Royal Dutch Shell 6.99 45

Royal Philips Electronics 6.52 51

Ryland Group 6.10 22

Safeway 7.49 30

SAP 7.28 35

Schein (Henry) 7.33 27

Schlumberger 7.58 48

Science Applications Intl. 5.71 38

Scientific-Atlanta 6.27 37

Scripps (E.W.) 7.24 54

Seagate Technology 7.26 34

Sealed Air 7.33 42

ServiceMaster 6.44 14

Siemens 7.15 51

Silgan Holdings 6.21 42

Simon Property Group 8.03 19

Sirva 6.41 59

Smithfield Foods 6.49 8

Smith International 7.00 48

Sony 6.47 51

Southern 7.26 46

Southwest Airlines 7.19 56

Sprint Nextel 6.86 36

Staples 6.57 29

Starbucks 8.11 31

State Farm Insurance 6.33 7

State Street 6.35 3

Stewart Information Services 5.71 5

St. Jude Medical 7.57 52

Stryker 7.51 52

Supervalu 6.96 26

Sysco 7.71 26

Target 7.86 28

Tech Data 6.37 24

Texas Instruments 7.85 50

TIAA-CREF 6.40 6

Timberland 6.80 11

Time Warner 6.49 53

Toll Brothers 6.70 22

Toyota Motor 7.42 65

Triad Hospitals 6.17 17

Tribune 6.56 54

True Value 7.14 25

TXU 6.96 47

Tyson Foods 6.37 8

Unilever 6.54 10

Union Pacific 7.01 60

United Auto Group 6.51 64

UnitedHealth Group 8.60 16

United Natural Foods 6.71 26

United Parcel Service 8.54 61

United Technologies 7.18 62

Univision Communications 6.53 53

USG 7.25 23

Verizon Communications 6.77 36

VF 7.22 11

Vornado Realty Trust 7.27 19

Vulcan Materials 7.16 23

Wachovia 6.75 2

Walgreen 8.14 30

Wal-Mart Stores 7.18 28

Washington Mutual 5.84 5

Washington Post 7.46 54

WellChoice 6.10 16

WellPoint 7.22 16

Wells Fargo 7.69 2

Werner Enterprises 6.32 63

Weyerhaeuser 7.15 44

Williams 6.25 47

Worthington Industries 7.66 40

WPS Resources 7.36 47

Xerox 6.85 32

Yahoo 7.27 33

YRC Worldwide 7.90 63

Yum Brands 6.46 31

Zimmer Holdings 6.94 52

HOW WE CONDUCT THE MOST ADMIRED SURVEY

The Most Admired list is the definitive report card on corporate reputations. Our 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 companies operating in the U.S. They sorted the companies by industry and selected the ten largest companies in each. To create the 65 industry lists, Hay asked executives, directors, and analysts to rate companies in their own industry on eight criteria, from investment value to social responsibility. This year only the best are listed: A company's score must rank in the top half of its industry survey.

To create the top 20 and overall list of Most Admired Companies, Hay Group asked the 10,000 executives, directors, and securities analysts who had responded to the industry surveys to select the ten companies they admired most. They chose from a list made up of the companies that ranked among the top 25% in last year's survey, plus those that finished in the top 20% of their industry. Anyone could vote for any company in any industry. The difference in the voting rolls is why some results can seem anomalous--for example, FedEx is one of the top ten Most Admired Companies but only second in its own industry.

A total of 611 companies in 70 industries were surveyed. Due to an insufficient response rate, the results for 29 companies in five industries are not reported: advertising, consumer credit, health care, pharmacy and other services, precision equipment, and printing. Thus American Express (No. 17) and 3M (No. 20) are on the overall list even though their industries--consumer credit and precision equipment--did not have enough responses to merit a category.

REPORTER ASSOCIATES Kate Bonamici and Christopher Tkaczyk contributed to this article.