Special Report

The World's 25 Least Admired Companies

Source: Wikimedia Commons

15. Fluor
> Industry Engineering, Construction
> Country: United States

Engineering and construction company Fluor Corporation ranks as one of the least admired companies in the world after years of struggling to deliver its projects on time and on budget. The company also poorly estimated costs and other business items from 2016 to 2019, resulting in an over $1 billion writeoff.

In May 2014, Fluor Corporation’s stock price was over $80. After several sharp declines, including those induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, Fluor’s stock price fell below $6 per share and remained under $20 per share as of February 2021.

Source: Joe Tabacca / Shutterstock.com

14. Macy’s
> Industry General merchandisers
> Country: United States

Based on the Fortune ranking, retailer Macy’s ranks as one of the world’s least admired companies entrenched by years of financial turmoil. Even before COVID-19 made it difficult for brick-and-mortar businesses like Macy’s to operate, the company was struggling to compete with online retailers as foot traffic and sales were in near-constant decline. In February 2020, the company announced plans to shutter 125 stores and terminate thousands of corporate jobs.

13. Royal Mail
> Industry Delivery
> Country: U.K.

The Royal Mail was, for centuries, the U.K. government’s mail delivery service. In 2013, the government began privatizing Royal Mail and was fully divested by 2015. Despite no longer being government-run, the company remains one of the least admired as it continues to grapple with declining letter business and competitive rivals in the parcel business while trying to implement a turnaround plan.

The delivery industry features frequently on this list. Royal Mail is one of four delivery companies to rank among the 25 least admired companies in the world.

Source: Courtesy of FirstEnergy Corp. via Flickr

12. FirstEnergy
> Industry Electric and gas utilities
> Country: United States

Utilities company FirstEnergy made national headlines after Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder was arrested in July 2020 in connection with an alleged bribery scheme in which officials received $60 million in exchange for passing a bill that bailed out two power plants and curbed renewable energy subsidies.

After the arrests, FirstEnergy’s board of directors terminated the company’s CEO and two senior vice presidents.

Source: jeepersmedia / Flickr

11. GNC Holdings
> Industry Food and drug stores
> Country: China

Nutrition products retailer GNC, like many other companies on this list, has struggled to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. The company declared bankruptcy in June 2020, and in September its sale was approved to China’s Harbin Pharmaceutical Group Co.

In 2018, Sen. Marco Rubio requested an investigation of Harbin’s ownership stake in the company over privacy concerns, saying the Chinese government would use GNC’s data on American citizens. In addition, several state attorneys general have raised concerns over the accuracy of labels and claims made by products sold in GNC stores, and alleged the company knowingly sold supplements with banned ingredients.