Britain's Most Admired No. 10: Cobham, Allan Cook
The defence group has shot up the ranks this year, from 47th to 10th, and was beaten only by the mighty Rolls-Royce in the aero and defence engineering sector. Chief exec Allan Cook has steered the group to a pre-tax profit of £280m for the year, with revenue up 13% on 2008. He steps down next month (January) after eight years on the board, passing command over to his COO, Andy Stevens, who inherits an order book worth a bullet-proof £2.5bn.