Virginia “Ginni” Rometty has risen through the ranks at IBM (NYSE: IBM) and will take over as chief executive officer duties from Sam Palmisano in January. Now comes a report that lauds Big Blue for its internal development of managers.

“I learned to always take on things I’d never done before,” Rometty told Bloomberg news when named as Palmisano’s successor.

In the new “Global Top Companies for Leaders” study from Fortune magazine, Aon Consulting and RBL Group, IBM, which employs some 10,000 people across North Carolina, ranks first.

“How do great companies groom talent?” Fortune headlines the story.

“You can’t build a great business without nurturing from within. Meet the firms that are doing it right.”

Fortune notes that IBM “sends leadership SWAT teams around the world” as one of its strengths.

It’s the first such list in two years, and Fortune notes one very interesting development: The number of U.S.-based firms in the top 25 fell to 13 from 17 two years ago.

Five of the winning firms are from India.

“International companies are creatively coming up with leadership development ideas that fit their own cultures,” says Wharton management expert Michael Useem, one of our judges.

“The study identified a strong connection between business strategy and leadership strategy,” Amon said about the report. “All of the companies have articulated a clear business case for investing in leadership as a strategic imperative. Nearly 85 percent of companies say their leaders can explain how the investment in leadership affects financial performance, while only 54 percent of all other companies in the study can say the same.”

Here’s the list of 25 companies.

• General Mills Inc.
• The Procter & Gamble Co.
• Aditya Birla Management Corp.
• Colgate-Palmolive Co.
• Hindustan Unilever
• ICICI Bank Ltd.
• McDonald’s Corp.
• Whirlpool Corp.
• PepsiCo Inc
• General Electric Company
• Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA)
• Natura Cosmeticos S.A
• Deere & Co.
• 3M Co.
• Eli Lilly and Co.
• McKinsey and Co.
• L’Oreal
• Unilever plc
• Siemens AG
• Intel Corporation
• China Vanke Co.Ltd.
• Wipro Ltd.
• Bharti Aritel
• Novartis AG

For more details, read here.

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