When the Sarbanes-Oxley Act became law in July 2002, Honeywell was emerging from a tumultuous period that included a failed merger with General Electric, three CEO's in 12 months and major organizational realignment. As the then-new Chairman and CEO Dave Cote began efforts to revitalize the company and drive sustainable profit growth, he made clear from the outset that a culture of governance and integrity was a top priority, and essential for Honeywell to succeed. As he told shareholders in 2002: "Credibility is our most valuable asset."

Governance groups have given Honeywell high marks for its program, which mandates a code of conduct and embraces the One Honeywell performance culture. RiskMetrics Group awarded it a corporate governance quotient of 100 in the capital goods industry group, making it No. 1 in that category. RiskMetrics based its scores on factors including board policies, takeover defenses, compensation and ownership issues, audit integrity and compliance.

The success has been reflected in financial results, too. From 2003 to 2007, Honeywell generated compounded annual growth of 11%, 17%, 20% and 20%, respectively, in sales, segment profit, per share earnings and free cash flow.

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