Every year, the American magazine Fortune publishes a list of the 500 leading firms in the United States based on their figures for turnover and profits. Michel Drancourt looks at the list published in April 2006 and analyses how the ranking has changed over recent years. In particular he draws attention to the major growth in the activities of American companies (reflected in a rise in profits once again of almost 15% in 2005) and the considerable changes among the leading firms (in the main, the most successful sectors are oil, insurance, pharmaceuticals and banking).
He also stresses some important shifts among the large American enterprises (in terms of newcomers, mergers, revivals, declines, etc.). Lastly, he draws some conclusions about the future of various major groups such as IBM, Exxon, Hewlett-Packard, etc., and emphasizes the key role of certain top executives.