The venerable publication Fortune Magazine was created by Time co-founder Henry Luce in 1930, a mere four months after the Wall Street crash heralded the beginning of the Great Depression. Going on to become one of the world’s most respected magazines focused on global business, the integrity and intent of the magazine was signaled with a prescient but memorably understated memo from Luce to the Time, Inc. board: “We will not be over-optimistic. We will recognize that this business slump may last as long as an entire year.”
Luce’s commitment to honest reporting about the business world continues to inform the magazine’s mission to this day. In a sharp departure from conventional business publications, Fortune Magazine established a reputation for social awareness—significant in an age of economic despair—and top-notch reporting from distinguished writers and critics including John Kenneth Galbraith, James Agee Archibald MacLeish, and Alfred Kazin. Its written content was accompanied by exceptionally artistic photography from noted documentarian and photographer Margaret Bourke-White and other esteemed photojournalists.
Today the magazine continues to flourish as a source of quality reporting on every aspect of modern business. A hallmark of Fortune Magazine is its annual publication of lists ranking companies in various categories, such as the Fortune 500 and the “Best Companies to Work For” list. Selection for these lists is considered a top honor and a reflection upon a company’s values and success. During Steven Darien’s tenure with Merck & Co., Inc., the company was named America’s Most Admired Company for seven consecutive years by Fortune Magazine.