Blog: Olly WehringBeware the fickle world of celebrity

Olly Wehring | 2 December 2008

Diageo, a company that most people cannot pronounce correctly, has won a major popularity contest among its UK business peers.

The drinks giant has leapfrogged stricken banks and brow-beaten retailers to become the UK's "most admired company", a prize bestowed on it by the high and mighty of the country's business sector.

Fittingly, the news comes two days before the entire UK alcoholic drinks industry anticipates a rollicking by ministers over its record on promoting responsible consumption. That's how it goes.

In fact, Diageo's proactive approach to this issue, together with solid sales and profit growth in recent years, are probably what helped it to take the prize. 

Diageo's solid business model has helped it to shine in a world littered with economic pitfalls for previous high flyers.

Clearly the business world believes Diageo to be more "recession-proof" than most.

Most people have no idea what Diageo is, but, chances are, they do know Guinness, Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff. And, chances are, people will still want a drink during the recession - more so, some might say.

Analyst group Bernstein today described Diageo as "very much a safe haven", even in its own sector.

It warned of "gathering storm clouds", however, adding that the group was "over-exposed" to three of Europe's worst hit economies - UK, Ireland and Spain. So, above the adoration, there is still hard work to do, and there will be no prizes for slipping up.


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