Diageo tops UK’s “most admired” poll

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 3rd December 2008

Premium alcoholic drinks producer Diageo has taken out the title of “Most Admired Company 2008” in a British poll of business peers.

Diageo won the Management Today poll, which is conducted by Nottingham Business School. The voters are managers from a range of leading companies, indicating the winner has earnt the respect of their peers. A number of leading analysts are also asked to participate. Rivals are often acutely aware of the strengths and weaknesses of competitors meaning that Diageo must be doing something right.

The maker of Smirnoff, Guinness, Johnnie Walker and Baileys has reported solid growth despite economic conditions deteriorating and has begun embarking on a responsible drinking campaign. Ironically, the award is bestowed upon them in the same week in which the UK Government is widely anticipated to launch a crackdown on alcohol marketing practices amidst concerns some companies remain intent on forgetting the responsible drinking message.

Matthew Gwyther, Editor of Management Today, said the 16-year strong awards had managed to gain a notoriety amongst industry leaders due to the way in which they are conducted. “Their success is due to the fact that British business takes them with the utmost seriousness because of the unique way in which they are conducted,” he said at the ceremony. “The research is an academic exercise conducted by Professor Mike Brown of Nottingham Business School – the result is not decided during a hokey carve-up by interested parties in smoke-filled rooms.”

Voters are asked to judge over 200 companies on a set of 9 criteria, including:

1. Quality of Management
2. Financial Soundness
3. Quality of Goods and Services
4. Ability to Attract, Develop & Retain Top Talent
5. Value as a Long-term Investment
6. Capacity to Innovate
7. Quality of Marketing
8. Community & Environmental Responsibility
9. Use of Corporate Assets

The awards, not surprisingly, reflected the current economic situation, with those more likely to perform well in the downturn seen to improve on last year’s result. Unilever (3), Cadbury (18) and Tesco (5) were other food and beverage industry participants to perform well, although Tesco, which has won the award six times, did drop three spots as they struggle to maintain their market share in the face of heightened competition. Highlighting how much things can change in a year was the performance of last year’s winner, Marks & Spencer, which fell to 29th spot.