Globe 100

Letter from the business editor

By Shirley Leung
May 18, 2010

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We’ve always known the Globe 100 is an exclusive list, but we didn’t think it could be this exclusive.

Only 82 companies made it onto our annual ranking of the best-performing, publicly traded companies in Massachusetts. An unrelenting recession pummeled revenues and growth for much of the past two years, making it hard for many companies to qualify. In the end, our requirement that firms show two consecutive years of profits knocked many out of the running. Of the 212 eligible companies, 91 lost money in 2009.

In 22 years of publishing the Globe 100, this is the first time that the list has come up short. When we saw the results, we debated whether the recession changed business conditions so much that we should lower the bar to include more companies. But we decided against it. If your company can thrive in the worst recession since the Great Depression, you deserve to be recognized as being part of an elite group.

One thing that hasn’t changed: One company is crowned number one. This year’s honor goes to TJX Cos., the Framingham retail behemoth that operates stores such as T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods. It’s fitting that TJX became the region’s most dominant company of the year. The off-price chain worked the recession to its advantage, fueling sales by launching a clever marketing campaign to lure more budget-conscious shoppers.

Other notables: Defense stalwart Raytheon Co. grabbed the number two spot, showing there’s always a need for security. Hanover Insurance Group Inc. leaped to number five, thanks to conservative investing that enabled the company to weather the financial crisis.

We also decided to shake up our annual roundtable this year — by inviting only female executives. We did so in response to concerns about the dwindling number of women in executive positions in Massachusetts. With the help of The Boston Club, a professional women’s group, we gathered three leaders to talk not only about the economy but about how women can break the glass ceiling. Participants included Agnes Bundy Scanlan, chief regulatory officer of TD Bank; Joanna Lau, founder and chief executive of Lau Technologies; and Stephanie Sonnabend, chief executive of Sonesta International Hotels Corp.

Enjoy this special edition of Globe 100. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that next year’s list will be bigger. After all, 2010 is already shaping up to be a much better year.