IBM gains but PepsiCo loses respect in poll

A sign marks the entrance to IBM Corporate A sign marks the entrance to IBM Corporate Headquarters in Armonk. (March 20, 2009) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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An Armonk computer giant is plugged in, but a Purchase beverage maker has lost some fizz, according to a survey of money managers asked how much they respect the world's largest publicly traded companies.

IBM ranked as the second-most-respected company, according to the Barron's survey, with 47 percent of respondents calling it "highly respected" and only 1 percent saying they don't respect it.

The computer and digital services giant climbed from the No. 4 spot in 2011, trading places with online retailer Amazon.com, now occupying fourth place.

The story wasn't so bubbly for PepsiCo. The soft drink maker tumbled from No. 9 to No. 30 on the list.

Respondents were asked to consider a company's management and business strategy, along with corporate ethics, product innovation and quantitative factors like revenue growth and stock performance.

Barron's attributed Pepsi's slide to sluggish profit growth and executives' opposition to calls by investors to split off the snack unit, maker of Lay's and Tostitos brand chips, into a separate company.

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Rival Coca-Cola weighed in at No. 8, the same spot as in 2011.

Which company is the most respected? It was Apple in a rout, with 71 percent of respondents saying they respect the company highly and only 3 percent saying they don't respect the maker of iconic products like the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air.

Rounding out the top 10 were: McDonald's, Caterpillar, 3M, United Parcel Service, Nestle and Intel.

Gazprom, the Russian energy company, ranked as the least respected company, with 45 percent of the money managers saying they don't respect the company.

The bottom of the list was dominated by Russian and Chinese companies "that bear the taint of their countries' perceived untrustworthiness in business dealings," Barron's said.

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Also near the bottom were U.S. companies like Citigroup and Bank of America, whose reputations were tarnished in the credit crisis.

Efforts to get comment from PepsiCo and IBM were not immediately successful.

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