General Electric

Not even General Electric was spared by the Great Recession. In the last year, the conglomerate cut its dividend for the first time since 1938 and lost its top debt ratings as earnings dropped. Its shares fell to their lowest level since the early-1990s.

So the company scaled back its GE Capital finance arm and sold a controlling stake in its NBC Universal to Comcast. Meanwhile, a restructuring divided the company into five segments. If the stock market is the best gauge of success, GE is on the mend: Shares have climbed 27% in the last year compared with an 8% gain for the S&P 500.