Berkshire Hathaway ranks number one in reputation

By Chavon Sutton, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Berkshire Hathaway is still the most highly regarded company among Americans, according to a survey released Monday.

Warren Buffett's famed company edged out health care products manufacturer Johnson & Johnson (JNJ, Fortune 500) for the top spot in a ranking of corporate reputations, according to Harris Interactive's annual Reputation Quotient survey.

Tech giant Google (GOOG, Fortune 500), 3M Company (MMM, Fortune 500), and consumer-products maker SC Johnson rounded out the top five spots. And Ford Motor Company (F, Fortune 500) saw one of the biggest annual jumps in its reputation rating, despite a dismal year for automakers. Ford's rise was the second-largest in the study's 11-year history.

"This year, we see overall corporate governance, performance and leadership driving positive reputation perceptions," said Robert Fronk, senior vice president of Reputation Management at Harris Interactive.

Overall, the survey found that while Americans' opinion about corporations has improved in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis, the vast majority of people are still very skeptical about big business.

According to the survey, the percentage of Americans who labeled corporate reputations as "not good" or "terrible" stood at 81% in 2009, down from 88% in 2008 when the U.S. was knee deep in the crisis.

Bailed out banks and federal agencies, including Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500), Citigroup, (C, Fortune 500) AIG (AIG, Fortune 500), and Fannie Mae, comprised 7 out of the 10 least reputable companies. Freddie Mac was rock bottom, with the lowest score recorded since 2005 when Enron held that spot.

Only 18% of those surveyed said corporations had a "good" reputation. Still, this was up from 12% in 2008 and marked the first positive move in four years.

The retail and automotive industries saw the biggest improvements in their reputation ratings. The technology sector remained the highest rated industry, while financial institutions and tobacco companies held on to the lowest ranks.

The annual Reputation Quotient surveyed more than 29,000 Americans between December 29, 2009 and February 15, 2010. To top of page

Just the hot list include
Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 24,461.70 -196.10 -0.80%
Nasdaq 7,712.95 -68.56 -0.88%
S&P 500 2,749.76 -17.56 -0.63%
Treasuries 2.90 -0.03 -1.06%
Data as of 8:30pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Advanced Micro Devic... 15.65 -0.87 -5.27%
General Electric Co 12.76 -0.12 -0.93%
Micron Technology In... 59.44 0.49 0.83%
Bank of America Corp... 29.29 0.05 0.17%
AT&T Inc 31.60 -0.40 -1.25%
Data as of 4:15pm ET
Sponsors

Sections

US Starbucks stores are bugged by drinks no one wants, too many stores and not enough innovation. More

Russian trolls posing as an American college student tweeted about divisive social, political and cultural issues using an account that amassed thousands of followers -- and appeared in dozens of news stories published by major media outlets -- as recently as March. More

Thinking of splashing out a lot of money on fancy new car or dream vacation? Ask yourself these six questions to avoid financial chaos. More