10 Surprising Brand Winners of 2011

General Electric Dodged a Bullet
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9. General Electric Dodged a Bullet

Companies whose equipment causes ecological disasters seldom emerge unscathed. (If you don't believe me, just ask BP.) But General Electric managed to fend off criticism that the reactors it designed for the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant contributed to the massive meltdown. Combine that with a year of strong earnings, and you've got a brand that's still known for bringing good things to light ... without making them radioactive.

Lesson: When, uh ... stuff happens, it's best to lay low.