One of the most interesting aspects of the Most Admired Companies survey is that it shows earlier than any other survey whose star is rising and whose is waning. Some retain their mystique among the general public when well past their best, while others are underestimated as they continue to surpass all expectations. Often it is only those operating in the same sector who know the real story.
Among the risers, Sema Group, the Anglo-French computer services giant, has made its gains on the back of a dramatic improvement across the board, and has emerged as a front runner to make a bid for the controversial privatisation of the Benefits Agency Medical Service (BAMS), which employs doctors to examine sick and disabled people to establish whether they are entitled to their invalidity benefits.
David Crossland founded and built Airtours from a UK-based tour operator into a diversified international leisure business with outlets in Europe and North America. Ocean Group, the international logistics, towing and environmental services company, also continues on a high-growth tack with half-year pre-tax profits of £32 million. The group is second only to Nippon Express of Japan in the world league of freight forwarding outfits.