Contributors
Contributors

(FORTUNE Magazine) - "WE GOT the horse back into the barn." With those words, senior list editor L. Michael Cacace announced that he and his team had finished this year's FORTUNE 500--the tenth time he has compiled America's most important business ranking. The 500 keeps Cacace, who joined FORTUNE in 1996, when GM was on top, busy from January to March and sleepless for the last two weeks of the run. Now he can rest--and get to work on the Global 500.

FOR THE 20 years he's spent covering media companies, senior writer Marc Gunther says, the mantra has always been "bigger is better." Not anymore for Viacom, which spun off its CBS properties and seems to be betting that smaller is the new big. In this issue Gunther profiles new Viacom CEO Tom Freston, the longtime head of MTV Networks. (Media columnist Devin Leonard tackles the new CBS chief, Leslie Moonves.) In Freston, Gunther sees an atypical executive, a pleasure seeker, "a guy who follows his passions. Tom is not conventionally ambitious, but he got to the top by doing what he loves." So did Marc.

EXXON MOBIL is No. 1 on the FORTUNE 500 again for the first time since 2001. As Europe editor and oil industry expert Nelson D. Schwartz reports, the leviathan's $36 billion profit makes it the biggest-earning U.S. company in history. Writing about Exxon, says Schwartz, "is like playing in the NFL--they're big, tough, and very good at what they do. I've been to the oilfields of Libya and Venezuela and met locals who worked for Exxon decades ago but are still nostalgic about those days." Top of page

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