Northwestern Mutual has reached a milestone, voted the most admired company in its industry for the 20th time in Fortune's annual survey. "America's Most Admired Companies" is featured in the magazine's March 3 issue, which hits newsstands next week. Of the 587 companies evaluated, Northwestern Mutual is the only company to have held the No. 1 spot in its industry throughout the history of this annual corporate reputation survey.

"This is about as good as it gets," says Edward J. Zore, president and chief executive officer. "There are a lot of great companies on this list, and for us to be ranked at the top is very special. It reflects our commitment to do what's best for our clients."

With an overall score of 7.52, Northwestern Mutual has a 74 basis-point lead over this year's second-place company. Fortune's list of "America's Most Admired Companies" is an annual report card on corporate reputation graded by more than 10,000 business executives, directors and securities analysts from the largest companies in some 65 industries. Northwestern Mutual was voted first in its industry in: quality of management, quality of products and services, long-term investment value, financial soundness, employee talent, social responsibility, and use of corporate assets.

Other Wisconsin companies leading their categories are: Manpower, which ranked first in its industry; Banta, Harley-Davidson, and Johnson Controls, which came in second in their respective industries; and Kohl's, ranked third in the General Merchandisers category.

Northwestern Mutual, the nation's largest direct provider of individual life insurance according to A. M. Best, has always received the highest possible ratings for financial strength from Standard & Poor's, Moody's, Fitch, and A. M. Best. In addition to life insurance, the company, its subsidiaries and affiliates are also providers of annuities, mutual funds, long-term care insurance and disability income insurance. These products and services are distributed through the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network and its 7,800 financial representatives.

Among its affiliated companies are the Frank Russell Company, the investment management and advisory firm; Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS), the securities brokerage firm; and Northwestern Mutual Trust Company, a special purpose federal savings bank. Further information on Northwestern Mutual, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, can be found at: www.northwesternmutual.com .

SOURCE: Northwestern Mutual

CONTACT: Jean Towell of Northwestern Mutual, +1-800-323-7033,
jeantowell@northwesternmutual.com

Web site: http://www.northwesternmutual.com/