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Fortune’s list of lists is here

December 14, 2020, 11:32 AM UTC

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Good morning.

You’ve probably noticed this, but at Fortune, we do a lot of lists. We rank companies by size, speed of growth, employee engagement, admiration among peers, leadership, impact on society, orientation toward the future, and more.

Today, as the year comes to an end, we’re unveiling our list of lists—the annual Fortune Blue Ribbon list, honoring companies that have made four or more appearances on our 10 most rigorous rankings.

There were three companies this year that notched seven out of the 10—Amazon, Adobe and Progressive. That’s no small accomplishment. Kudos to them. Another five companies appeared on six of the lists—Alibaba, Alphabet, Bank of America, Facebook and Nvidia. There were 10 companies that made five list appearances, and 35 that made four.  You can find them all this morning here.

Not surprisingly tech companies were the biggest category—accounting for 14 of the 53 Blue Ribbon Companies. There were ten financial companies and ten health care companies.

By the way, DoorDash and Airbnb got most of the IPO love last week, but software firm C3.ai was another stellar success, soaring 174% on its first day of public trading. My guess is that’s the first of a long line of AI companies you’ll see coming to market over the next decade. Founder Tom Siebel’s interview with Ellen McGirt and me on our Leadership Next podcast is worth listening to, here.

More news below.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray

alan.murray@fortune.com

TOP NEWS

Vaccines commence

Americans will start receiving Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine jabs today, after the FDA granted it emergency authorization Friday. The U.K. has already started deploying the same vaccine, which is the first in the field to make it to wealthy countries' hospitals. (Side note: A Peruvian trial of China's Sinopharm vaccine was halted due to a participant getting sick.) Fortune

CureVac trial

Germany's CureVac (the biopharma firm that President Trump unsuccessfully tried to pay to make a vaccine for the U.S. only) is beginning large-scale trials of its candidate vaccine. The Phase 2b/3 study will include over 35,000 participants in Europe and Latin America. Financial Times

AstraZeneca buy

AstraZeneca will shell out $39 billion for Alexion Pharmaceuticals, a specialist in treatments for uncommon blood and immunological disorders. CEO Pascal Soriot called the move "an important step in the history of the company," though AstraZeneca's shares fell more than 9% on the news at one point, so investors are clearly skeptical. Fortune

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic's shares wobbled after the company aborted a test flight shortly after takeoff. The SpaceShipTwo Unity mission ended before it could reach space, after a computer failed. The pilots landed the spacecraft safely. Bloomberg

AROUND THE WATER COOLER

Graphene's here

Remember a decade ago, when there was a load of hype around graphene, the then-newly-isolated strongest, thinnest, most conductive etc. material in the world? The hype died down but companies are starting to put graphene into real-world products, to great effect: it makes for better-sounding headphones, tougher roads and more environmentally-friendly packaging. Fortune

Brexit talks

Deadlines mean nothing in the post-Brexit trade talks, apparently, except for the end of the Brexit transition on Dec 31. Yesterday's "firm decision" deadline, set in stone last week when the previous deadline turned to dust, itself became meaningless when the U.K. and EU decided to keep talking, despite there being no apparent signs of give on either side. It's likely that both sides want to avoid being blamed in the no-deal scenario. Guardian

Chinese economy

China's done well during the pandemic, with an economy that's holding up thanks to exports of pandemic-related products. So what happens when the disease is under control globally? Morgan Stanley thinks growth will be found in "urbanization 2.0." Fortune

Bitcoin boom

Staff writer Jeff Roberts is the latest in a long list of Fortune journalists to publish a book. Kings of Crypto: One Startup's Quest to Take Cryptocurrency out of Silicon Valley and onto Wall Street is available Tuesday. It's a highly readable account of how crypto is changing the world of finance, telling the story of crypto's controversial flagship company, Coinbase. You can order it here

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.