Delta moves up, Coca-Cola moves down on Fortune’s global most admired list

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola have landed once again on Fortune’s annual list of the world’s 50 most admired companies, with Delta gaining ground but Coke falling a few notches.

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Delta Air Lines ranks 39 this year, moving up nine positions from 48 in 2014. The carrier, which is the dominant airline at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, ranked No. 1 in the airline industry.

Fortune considered more than 1,000 companies before narrowing the group and judging them on key attributes, including innovation,  management quality, value as a long-term investment and community involvement. Some companies that ranked high overall, however, didn’t rank  as high in their industries.

“For example, Southwest Airlines ranks No. 7 on the overall Most Admired list, far ahead of No. 39 Delta Air Lines. But within the airline category, based on experts’ responses, Delta Air Lines leads the ranking for the third consecutive year, and Southwest Airlines missed the Most Admired cut by ranking in the bottom half of the industry,” Fortune explained.

Coca-Cola moved down four positions to No. 10 on the most-admired list from No. 6 in 2014, but Coke remained No. 1 in the beverage industry. Fortune cited Coke’s efforts to expand its product portfolio beyond soft drinks, which have been losing sales, and to cut costs, including eliminating jobs in Atlanta and elsewhere. Coke also has acquired stakes in Keurig Green Mountain Coffee and energy drink maker Monster Beverage.

Atlanta-based Home Depot, the home improvement retailer, also made the list, dropping a notch to No. 41. Home Depot also ranked No. 2 among specialty retailers after Costco.

While AT&T is also based in Dallas, the company’s wireless operations are based in Atlanta, and Fortune credited expansion of its wireless business to Mexico through acquisitions in helping to move AT&T up a few notches to No. 47 on the overall list from 50 last year.

Fortune’s 10 most admired globally (previous ranking in parenthesis)

1 Apple (1)

2 Google (3)

3 Berkshire Hathaway (4)

4 Amazon.com (2)

5 Starbucks (5)

6 Walt Disney (7)

7 Southwest Airlines (9)

8 American Express (11)

9 General Electric (10)

10 Coca-Cola (6)

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