As I reported in my earlier article http://usedview.com/list/corporate-top-of-the-heap-for-2013, the annual Harris Interactive Corporate Reputation Poll is one of my favorite “lists” each year. The annual survey is organized in great detail, measures U.S. consumer response to questions gauging corporate attributes in six major areas: social responsibility, emotional appeal, financial performance, products and services, and vision/leadership. This year Harris survey over 14,000 consumers!
Each major U.S. company listed in the survey receives a cumulative “Reputation Quotient” score garnered from all the consumer responses . Scores range between 0 and 100. On the lower end, any company receiving a score between 55 and 64 is described as having a “poor” reputation. Scores between 50 and 54 are labelled “very poor”, and any score below 50 is “critical”. Famously, in previous surveys, now defunct companies such Enron, WorldCom, and Adelphia were recipients of scores under 50!
Tellingly, two tech companies (Amazon and Apple) ranked at the top of this reputation poll for 2013. In contrast, fully six of the bottom ten companies for 2013 come from the “Finance” industry! Obviously, folks still don’t trust the industry that brought us the economic disaster from which we are still trying to recover.
Here is the list of the bottom ten companies, starting with fifty-first ranked company (“tenth” from the “Bottom” here) and moving down to the sixtieth corporation (“first” in this “Bottom” list):
The cable company folks “love to hate” scored 60.99 in this years poll, to rate at the “poor reputation” level. To its credit, it did manage to score 1.89 points higher than in 2012!
NINTH: WELLS FARGO
Also improving their score from last year (by .97 point) the nation’s largest residential mortgage lender (33% market share in 2012), Wells Fargo Bank ranked ninth from the bottom in corporate reputation in 2013.
EIGHTH: JP MORGAN CHASE
For better or worse, CEO Jamie Dimon (short in stature but “bigger than life”) is the “face” of Chase Bank’s business. Formerly one of the most highly touted U.S. bank executives, Jamie has lately been under fire because of the “London Whale” (a trading loss far in excess of $2 billion), mortgage abuses, fallout related to Chase’s involvement with Bernie Madoff and MF Global’s Jon Corzine, and other matters. In the 2013 poll, gained 3.4 points and finished just eighth from the bottom.
SEVENTH: BRITISH PETROLEUM
More commonly known in recent years simply as “BP”, it is doubtful that BP will soon lose its image as “the polluter of the Gulf of Mexico”. In the 2013 poll, BP did pick up 3 points more than last year, but it is still deeply mired in the “Bottom Ten” list!
Citigroup’s ego may be galactic (see image closely) but its consumer reputation is puny. It even scored .05 less in 2013 than it did for 2012. It joins the illustrious company of the other five finance companies in the “Bottom 10”.
FIFTH: BANK OF AMERICA
Bank of America (that purchased mortgage provider Countrywide at the very worst time just before the housing crisis reared its ugly head) managed to add an amazing 6 points to its 2012 score!! That would be much more impressive if last year’s score of 49.85 hadn’t fall below the “Critical” level! At least this year it has elevated itself to the “very poor reputation” level… and it is not at the very bottom!
FOURTH: AMERICAN AIRLINES
American Airlines, having weathered union strikes and bankruptcy, as well as a well-deserved reputation for late arrivals and less than stellar baggage handling, was included in Harris’ poll for the first time this year (so no score from 2012). It most likely wishes it had not been included, since it almost scored below the “Critical” level. It’s score was 53.85.
The company most closely related to former U.S. Vice President, Dick Cheney, and overseas contractor work in Iraq, continues to be a company folks don’t much care for. It was not included last year, so it too most likely regrets inclusion this year. It scored 52.51.
SECOND: GOLDMAN SACHS
The poster says it all! This company gave us Hank Paulson, Mario Draghi, Jim Cramer, Robert Rubin, Edward (Fast Eddie) Lampert, and the amazingly non-yet-convicted Jon Corzine, to mention just a few. Many refer to Goldman as “Government Sachs” because so many former executives have been involved in official government positions.
Goldman also had the temerity to admit in New York Federal Court that it cannot be held to standard measures of integrity in the material through which it markets its investment products and bonds, since “puffery” should be an expected part of such written representations. At least they were honest!
Goldman’s brand of “honesty” has earned it a consumer reputation below the “Critical” 50 level — at 49.39! But hey, it could be worse. It was last year, when Goldman scored 1.8 points lower!
Much as is the case with BP, AIG may never manage to lift itself out of the deep, dark mire in which it enveloped itself in 2008, when it required billions upon billions of taxpayer funds to keep it from failing, and taking with it a good deal of the world’s financial infrastructure that had grown to depend upon AIG for insurance coverage and risk management!
The good news is that AIG has completely paid down its debt to the U.S. Treasury. It also scored 2.39 points more in 2013 than it did last year!
The bad news is that it is still below the “Critical” 50 score and is ranked at the very bottom of Harris’ Reputation list for 2013!