Rolls-Royce storms to the top of this year's Most Admired engineering category

The world's second-largest aero engine manufacturer has had more top ten finishes in the last five years than any other company. Here's how Rolls-Royce is continuing to outmanoevre the competition.

by Andrew Saunders

With one of the longest and most illustrious histories of any of the 254 firms in the 2012 MT Britain’s Most Admired Companies Awards, the winner of this year’s Britain’s Most Admired Company in the aero & defence engineering sector is Rolls-Royce. R-R also comes a very creditable fourth overall. In fact, the world’s second-largest aero engine manufacturer has had more top ten finishes in the last five years than any other company, an exemplary showing which wins it the first ever MT/BSI Award for Continual Excellence. This is a new award designed to recognise consistent achievement at the highest level of Britain’s Most Admired.
R-R’s culture of excellence through expertise and outstanding teamwork lies at the heart of this consistently impressive showing. It has also pursued a canny strategy of diversification, bolstering soft defence spending with more civil contracts and expansion in alternative markets including power generation and marine propulsion. The common strand in all of these is R-R’s legendary engineering know-how and world-leading materials technology and innovation.
MT’s Britain’s Most Admired Companies Awards is one of the most respected awards programmes in UK business, having appeared annually since 1994. It is based on an extensive peer reviews survey of the largest companies in each of 26 industry sectors, conducted by Prof Mike Brown of Birmingham City Business School. Participants rate their rivals from 1 to ten across each of nine criteria (including quality of management, financial soundness, ability to attract and develop top talent and capacity to innovate). The awards are thus based on perception as well as on actual performance, hence the Most Admired’ tag. The winners are those firms which show themselves to be the most respected players in their various industries.
CEO since March 2011, John Rishton had giant boots to fill in the form of legendary captain of industry Sir John Rose. He has done so admirably, a tribute not only to his own abilities but also to the strength-in-depth of the organisation which he inherited. No wonder it is such a leading light of Britain’s Most Admired Companies.

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