How Vicki Hollub’s Occidental Petroleum rejoined the ranks of the World’s Most Admired Companies

February 1, 2023, 12:34 PM UTC
Vicki Hollub, CEO of Occidental Petroleum
Vicki Hollub, CEO of Occidental Petroleum, speaks during the 23rd World Petroleum Congress conference at the George R. Brown Convention Center on December 08, 2021 in Houston, Texas.
Brandon Bell—Getty Images

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Rent the Runway will sell its inventory on Amazon, the Oscars best actress race causes controversy, and Occidental Petroleum makes a return to the ranks of the World’s Most Admired Companies. Have a productive Wednesday.

– Most admired. For a quarter-century, Fortune has ranked the World’s Most Admired Companies. These are businesses that are admired by others in the wider business community as well as in their own industries. As editors Matt Heimer and Scott DeCarlo explain, this measure of corporate reputation encompasses “the impression you make on casual observers by producing strong results” as well as “the more intimate esteem you earn from customers, employees, and collaborators,” and the reluctant respect of competitors.

This year’s edition of the World’s Most Admired Companies list, in partnership with Korn Ferry, is out this morning; at the top is Apple for the 16th year in a row. Twenty-six women-led businesses appear on this list of 320 companies, a reflection of how rare it still is, despite some progress, for a woman to helm a major business. Accenture, led by CEO Julie Sweet, tops the ranking for the IT services industry for the 10th straight year.

One story worth paying attention to is the resurgence of Occidental Petroleum. The oil and gas business fell off this ranking for two years, a stretch that coincided with the challenging fallout of a $38-billion acquisition for CEO Vicki Hollub. Activist investors, including Carl Icahn, have gone after the business. Some criticized the $36 billion-in-revenue business for its green tech strategies.

But Hollub’s steady leadership has earned her and her company admirers despite the business’s challenges. Seven years ago, she became the first woman to run a major oil and gas company. She’s now one of the Fortune 500’s longest-tenured female CEOs. Occidental’s shares are up 500% since November 2020.

To Hollub’s peers in global business, who voted on which companies would make this list, that record was enough to boost her company back among this cohort. Warren Buffett has been a longtime backer of Hollub and Occidental, and Berkshire Hathaway is the business’s largest shareholder. Fittingly enough, Berkshire has appeared on this list every year since its debut. As Heimer and DeCarlo write, “Evidently, some admired companies really admire each other.”

See the full World’s Most Admired Companies list here.

Emma Hinchliffe

The Broadsheet is Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women. Today’s edition was curated by Kinsey Crowley. Subscribe here.


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