The worst (and best) company name changes

A name change can sometimes cause a company more trouble than it's worth.

Andersen Consulting To Accenture (2001)

name change anderson accenture

Andersen Consulting's evolution to Accenture (ACN) was initially received poorly, but in the end proved to be a smart move. After the consulting business separated itself from the accounting firm Arthur Andersen, the company was forced to change its name. In 2001, many criticized the firm for making up a new word for its name; a senior manager from Norway came up with it by thinking of an "accent on the future." But having an eccentric title was fitting to the company's profile, said David Koning, a research analyst for the financial services firm Robert W. Baird.

"There are a lot of well-known words that probably weren't around 20 years ago, and they are now right at the heart of technology changes, just like Accenture wants to be," he added.

In 2002, Arthur Andersen was found guilty of obstructing justice after destroying documents affiliated with the Enron scandal, tarnishing the name forever. (The conviction was overturned in 2005.) Andersen Consulting was a separate legal entity from Arthur Andersen, but Accenture's timely name changed allowed the firm to escape Andersen's "brand destruction," Koning added.

  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated December 09 2013 08:18 AM ET
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