Magazine article Management Today

Britain's Least Admired Companies: And Bringing Up the Rear

Magazine article Management Today

Britain's Least Admired Companies: And Bringing Up the Rear

Article excerpt

Banks, bookies and the beeb are among this year's low flyers.

So much for the winners, they've had their moment in the spotlight, lauded by the great and the good, sitting smugly in the smart seats only a step away from the podium. What about those at the other end of the scale, lurking well down table, squashed into that dismal corner between the kitchen door and the lavatories?

Here they are - Britain's Least Admired Companies. At 238 - 10th least admired - comes bookmaker Ladbrokes. A failure to keep pace in the digital age is at the root of its woes: it issued four profit warnings in just over a year, as punters abandoned the high street betting shop and voted with their thumbs in favour of rivals offering superior online and mobile betting experiences. CEO Richard Glynn announced in September that profits from digital could be as little as pounds 10m, a hefty pounds 17.5m off forecast. The odds on a takeover bid next year have shortened considerably - perhaps from CVC, which failed to get its hands on Betfair this year.

Hotel group Best Western GB - a kind of federation of independent hotels for mutual support and marketing - eschews the flashy high-ranking debuts of other first-time BMAC businesses to make a more modest entrance at, er, 239. But at least it fared marginally better than rival Travelodge, whose 500-strong chain of cheap but not so cheerful hotels was recently voted the second worst in the UK by the Consumers' Association Which? magazine. Not even best at being worst, that's got to hurt.

Despite its name, FirstGroup is once again among the last. The UK's largest rail operator is responsible for such travellers' delights as First Capital Connect, First Great Western and First ScotRail. But CEO and ex-Tube boss Tim O'Toole has cut first-half losses to pounds 8m, so things might be on the up at last.

And even down here in the bowels of the BMAC league table there are grounds for optimism.

The bottom 10 in 2013 scored a total of 377.5 between them, seven points more than last year. The flame of hope may gutter at such Stygian depths, but it still manages to cast a faint light.

Not much of that light is reaching the BBC, however, after an annus horribilis that would make even Her Maj sit up and take notice. At 228th overall, it escapes the Least Admired Top 10, but deserves a special mention because it manages to come last overall in the use of corporate assets category (tell that to all those recently ex execs who trousered whopping payoffs on their way out) and second from last for quality of management. …

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