I thought it would be interesting to see how the makeup of the top 20 companies in America has changed in the past 50 years. Below you’ll find the 20 largest companies by revenue in 1961 and 2011, according to Fortune Magazine If you want to see the lists for yourself, go here.
You may be wondering why you don’t see some of the most visible U.S. companies, like Microsoft and Apple, on the list. Their revenue figures aren’t high enough to be in the top 20. Apple came in at 35 on the 2011 list, with $65.2 billion in sales, and Microsoft came in at 38 with $62.4 billion in sales.
Obviously, a company called ExxonMobil did not exist in 1961. Fortune explains:
Since 1955, when the first FORTUNE 500 was created, more than 1,800 companies have appeared on the list. Many of these companies have changed names over this period, owing to mergers, acquisitions, and bankruptcies. Other companies have gone private, or simply changed their names.
Companies are listed by the name with which they were associated in 2005, or at the time of their most recent list appearance before that. FORTUNE 500 companies that have been acquired by other FORTUNE 500 companies are listed under the name of the acquiring company. Rankings have been revised to reflect corrections in data.
Fortune top 20 - then and now (all $ are millions)
|Rank||Company in 1961||Revenue||Profits||Company in 2011||Revenue||Profits|
|1||General Motors||12,736.0||959.0||Wal-Mart Stores||421,849.0||16,389.0|
|2||Exxon Mobil||8,034.7||688.6||Exxon Mobil||354,674.0||30,460.0|
|5||U.S. Steel||3,698.5||304.2||Fannie Mae||153,825.0||-14,014.0|
|9||Gulf Oil||2,720.8||330.3||Bank of America Corp.||134,194.0||-2,238.0|
|10||AT&T Technologies||2,640.4||124.5||Ford Motor||128,954.0||6,561.0|
|13||DuPont||2,142.6||381.4||JP Morgan Chase||115,475.0||17,370.0|
|17||Shell Oil||1,827.8||144.6||American Intl Group||104,417.0||7,786.0|
|19||Navistar International||1,683.3||53.7||Cardinal Health||98,601.9||642.2|