The 2011 Global Top 25 Companies for Leaders

Last month Aon Hewitt, The RBL Group and Fortune announced their Global Top Companies for Leaders list. It’s been two years since the last list, not to be confused with the competing “Best Companies for Leaders” list sponsored by Businessweek and Hay Group.

I like to look below the hood of these rankings, to see if there’s anything new to learn when it comes to leadership development. Sometimes I’ll even call the person in charge of talent management. Is there some new silver bullet, some new magic formula that we can steal and replicate within our own companies?

Once again, the answer is no, not really. The companies that excel in leadership development do it better than the rest because they believe in it and take it seriously. They treat it as a strategic priority, spend a lot of time on it, provide meaningful developmental assignments to their high potentials, invest in it, and measure the heck out of their efforts to ensure its working.

I’ve always said if there was only ONE wish I could have when it came to leadership development it would be a CEO that was 100% committed to it. All the rest would then fall into place – even the most incompetent HR department couldn’t screw it up if they tried. They couldn’t, because they would be measured and held accountable.

One thing that’s significant is that non-U.S. companies, like Hindustan Unilever are catching up. Only 13 out of 25 of the companies are U.S. based, compared to 17/25 two years ago. While it used to be emerging economies like China and India would turn to the U.S. and import their leadership development programs, now they are creating their own, in order to reflect their own cultural and market nuances.

Here’s the full list:


2.General Mills, Inc.

3.The Procter & Gamble Company

4.Aditya Birla Management Corporation

5.Colgate-Palmolive Company

6.Hindustan Unilever

7.ICICI Bank Limited

8.McDonald’s Corporation

9.Whirlpool Corporation

10.PepsiCo, Inc

11.General Electric Company

12.Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA)

13.Natura Cosmeticos S.A

14.Deere & Company

15.3M Company

16.Eli Lilly and Company

17.McKinsey and Company


19.Unilever plc

20.Siemens AG

21.Intel Corporation

22.China Vanke Co., Ltd.

23.Wipro Ltd.

24.Bharti Aritel

25.Novartis AG

Any surprises?