The 25 Best Companies in America
Public companies traditionally receive acclaim for delivering rapid earnings growth along with a rising stock price. Wall Street and the financial media encourage executives to "beat earnings targets," and boards pay them astronomical sums for doing so.
But a preoccupation with how investors are doing in the present can result in unfortunate outcomes. For example, Countrywide delighted its shareholders with huge profits from 2003 to 2006. Alas, the nation's largest mortgage lender all but drove itself into bankruptcy by mistreating its employees, homeowners, and mortgage investors. On a more mundane level, anyone who's ever had to deal with a surly checkout clerk can tell you that failing to look after employees and customers can result in lost future business for a retailer.
Several studies suggest that companies that focus on multiple stakeholders tend to achieve better financial performance over the long term. Intuitively, this makes sense, too, because, as professor Ed Freeman of the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia puts it, "business is about how customers, suppliers, employees, financiers, communities, and managers interact and create value."
We strongly believe that the greatest and most successful companies are those that are able to benefit all of the various groups.
For the past several months, we have been compiling data and analyzing more than 1,700 public companies to discover the 25 best public companies in America, measured by their success in serving investors, customers, employees, and the world at large. We're delighted to finally be able to share our findings. You can read more about all 25 of them below.
Click here if you're curious about how we made the rankings.
This special report was written by Ilan Moscovitz and John Reeves. Ilan Moscovitz owns shares of Apple, Google, and Whole Foods. John Reeves owns shares of Apple, Google, and Starbucks. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Under Armour, International Business Machines, Costco Wholesale, Starbucks, Google, Cirrus Logic, Whole Foods Market, Intel, and PepsiCo. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Starbucks, Costco Wholesale, Coach, PepsiCo, Whole Foods Market, Cummins, AFLAC, Apple, Intel, Google, Teradata, and Under Armour. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.