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BSkyB heads poll of most admired media companies

LONDON - A year on from James Murdoch's controversial appointment as chief executive of BSkyB, the company has topped a poll of the most admired media companies, beating WPP Group into second place.

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BSkyB was voted into first place a poll of media industry peers, part of the Management Today Most Admired Company Awards.

The company, which has seen pre-tax profits rise by £480m over the 2003/04 period, was also voted as having the most admired marketing, a fact that will cheer Murdoch, who is under pressure to increase subscriber numbers to 10m subscribers by 2010.

His appointment in November 2003 was greeted with dismay by BSkyB shareholders, who felt that he had been appointed because of his name, rather than his proven ability to run a company. However, his father Rupert has continually insisted that he was the right man for the job.

However, it was not all good news for the satellite broadcaster, which saw its position in the overall ranking slip from eighth place last year to 22nd this year, meaning that no media company made the top 20.

Cadbury Schweppes was named the UK's most admired company overall in 2004, beating off competition from Unilever and BP. Tesco, the 2003 winner, slipped back into fourth position.

For the media companies list, Pearson, publisher of the Financial Times, was in third, ahead of Reed Elsevier, Emap and ITV.

The winners were named at the MT Summit yesterday, conducted in association with Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

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