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.

Cisco Systems
Cisco Systems
Top 20 rank: 18
Rank in Network Communications: 1
Most people can't tell you what Cisco does. (Briefly: It makes the plumbing for the Internet.) But it is Cisco's recovery from the tech meltdown that has won it general admiration. Beginning in 2001, CEO John Chambers tossed out the rule book for organizing a multinational, in which each division has a separate army of sales, marketing, and engineering talent. Now executives share resources, and part of their compensation is based on how they work as a team. Add Cisco's smart acquisitions record and its $23 billion cash stash (the biggest in the tech world), and it's no surprise that Chambers & Co. is admired.  -Jon Fortt
See how Cisco Systems 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)
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