TOP 10 COMPANIES AND THEIR CHIEF EXECS. MT's annual poll to find Britain's Most Admired Company has an emphatic double winner for 2003.

1. TESCO - SIR TERRY LEAHY, CHIEF EXECUTIVE. With the company since 1979 and ably steering the corporate trolley since March 1997, 47-year-old Leahy has made Tesco's position as the nation's favourite grocer unassailable and now has his sights set on the world stage. With 300 stores in 10 countries already, Wal-Mart had better watch out.

2. GLAXOSMITHKLINE - JEAN-PIERRE GARNIER, CEO. 56-year-old Dr Garnier seems to have emerged miraculously unscathed from the drubbing shareholders gave him over pay in May. It helps that GSK has had a good year elsewhere, with post-merger hiccups finally ironed out and signs of rising productivity.

3. ASTRAZENECA - SIR TOM McKILLOP, CHIEF EXECUTIVE. Strong sales of its new cholesterol-buster Crestor have helped AstraZeneca to bumper Q3 results, with profits up to £650 million, calming investors' fears over the patent expiry on previous top seller Losec. McKillop, 60, has vowed to spend 'whatever it takes' to win 20% of the global cholesterol-lowering drugs market.

4. BP - LORD BROWNE OF MADINGLEY GROUP, CEO. Britain's foremost corporate statesman continues to impress despite adverse market conditions, debate over the future of BP's £4 billion Russian adventure and environmental protests at the AGM in May. BP remains the City's favourite oil business, and profits in the third quarter of the year were up a hefty 25% to £1.7 billion.

5. SHELL - SIR PHILIP WATTS, CHAIRMAN. Flat Q3 profits put a damper on Shell's share price at the end of this year, but Watts, 58, has his eyes on the future. Shell is investing £18 billion over eight years to boost production by 1.5 million barrels a day, and is building a £3 billion plant in Qatar to turn natural gas into diesel.

6. UNILEVER - NIALL FITZGERALD, CHAIRMAN. Unilever's five-year restructuring mission - based on a reduced portfolio of 400 core brands - continues, with savings so far of Eu1 billion. Growth of 4% is expected this year, a lowish figure that Fitzgerald, 58, has blamed on disappointing sales of SlimFast. Is the carbohydrate-hating Atkins diet to blame?

7. CADBURY SCHWEPPES - TODD STITZER, CEO. The 51-year-old Stitzer is an ex-New York lawyer who joined Cadbury's in 1983 and became CEO in May this year. He has his work cut out managing the integration of the firm's latest acquisition - US gum business Adams - and finding the cash for more purchases next year.

8. BSKYB - JAMES MURDOCH, CEO. First-ever top 10 finish for BskyB, which in the hands of just-retired boss Tony Ball doubled revenues to £3.2 billion. Rupert Murdoch's son James, 30, became the FTSE 100's youngest-ever chief exec on his appointment in November, but the City questions his ability to do the job.

9. W MORRISON - SIR KENNETH MORRISON, CHAIRMAN. Not satisifed with his amazing track record - 35 years of rising profits - last year Bradford-based Sir Ken made a bid for Safeway, the UK's fourth-largest supermarket. Twelve months and one competition commission report later, it looks as though he might be about to join the superstore super league at the tender age of 71.

10. DIAGEO - PAUL WALSH, CHIEF EXECUTIVE. Walsh, 48, runs the world's biggest distiller, whose best-performing brand this year was Irish liqueur Bailey's. The success of the Guinness 'Michael Power' ads in Africa helped partly fill the £1.4 billion gap left by the sale of Burger King last year.

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