It’s been that kind of a year for Corporate America — the kind when CEOs take the Fifth, when P.R. people seriously consider switching careers, when the only thing that will scrub a company’s name clean is … a new name.
Philip Morris made headlines last spring by rechristening itself Altria — a name that, according to the company, is meant to echo not “altruism,” but the Latin altus, or “high.” Andersen Consulting renamed itself Accenture a while back, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ consulting arm will soon do business as Monday (really: www.monday.com), and Enron is looking for a new name.
Such makeovers have a long history, though they do seem to be increasing in popularity: One consulting firm estimates that of the 3,000-plus corporate name changes last year, an unusually high number appear to be motivated not by technicalities such as mergers and acquisitions, but by image concerns. From the archives, here are a few other inspired choices.
|Nation’s largest landscaping company
|Tricon Global Restaurants
|Owns Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut
|Binladin Telecommunications Group
|Telecom equipment maker owned by Osama bin Laden’s Saudi relatives
|Agricultural Insecticide and Fungicide Association
|Lobbying and trade association representing the nation’s 78 pesticide manufacturers
|Benton Oil and Gas Company
|Harvest Natural Resources
|Drills for oil and gas in Russia and Venezuela
|Disposes of toxic and radioactive waste
|Monsanto Specialty Chemicals
|A spin-off whose holdings include a string of former Monsanto chemical plants
|Online mortgage and real estate listings provider