Wherefore Wal-Mart?

Associated Press

More rank-and-file managers would prefer to run Wal-Mart Stores Inc. than any other company in America, a new survey shows.

Of the 500 business professionals polled by Brouillard Communications, 20% said they'd want to serve as head honcho of the Bentonville, Ark.-based discount retailer.

Wal-Mart's appeal not only stems from its apparent immunity to recession, but also its longevity and reputation as a good corporate citizen, said Bill Lyddan, president of Brouillard, a subsidiary of British advertising colossus WPP Group.

Following Wal-Mart, 15% chose the top job at Microsoft Corp., 12% at Coca-Cola Co. and 11% at AOL Time Warner Inc.

And which chief executive jobs would go begging? Respondents named oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp. (26%) and tobacco colossus Philip Morris Cos. (23%) as the top two companies they'd rather not run.

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