Britain’s Most Admired Companies survey was launched by Professor Mike Brown, Fellow of Leeds Business School. It has been running since 1990 and has longitudinal, sector-based and individual company data going back to the start.

Using responses from board-level representatives, as well as analysts and City commentators, the survey is a peer-review of corporate reputation, as seen by a company’s closest critics – its competitors and financial influencers.

Britain’s largest public companies and leading employers across 25 sectors are asked to evaluate their peers. Each sector comprises a maximum of 10 companies. Using 12 criteria, participants rate their sector’s rivals on a scale of 0-10 (0=poor, 5=average, 10=excellent).

On the basis of these scores, three rankings are arrived at: all 250 companies; top 10 overall in each criterion; and league tables in each sector. Respondents are also asked to name their most admired leader.

The study is now run by leading reputation specialists and expert witnesses, Echo Research, and adds up to a revealing exercise that gets to the heart of what makes business succeed.