This morning’s news highlights an extremely rare breed of leader: Hyper-successful entrepreneurs who continue to manage their companies as massive global institutions. Only a tiny fraction of entrepreneurs achieve great success, and only a tiny fraction of those make the leap from visionary founder to corporate CEO. This morning we see why.
Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page announced on Monday the creation of Alphabet, a holding company analogous to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, that will own Google and its many non-search-based businesses—autonomous cars, life extension, maps, Glass—separated into at least two distinct segments, Google and everything else. It’s a smart, investor-friendly move that will help Google—er, Alphabet—grow even bigger.
Alibaba Group founder and chief Jack Ma is making his biggest buy ever, paying $4.6 billion for a 20% stake in a Chinese electronics retailer called Suning Commerce Group. Ma realizes that Alibaba, which is already bigger than Amazon and eBay combined, needs physical infrastructure if it’s going to dominate retailing in China. Like Page, he’s managing a mammoth company to become even bigger.
It’s a different story at Chobani, where rumors were rife last spring that founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya was on his way out. The company insisted it wasn’t true, and Ulukaya is still chief. But his heart seems to be in launching, not managing. He once told an interviewer, “All that marketing, supply chain, logistics stuff—most of it is BS.” Over the past few days, we’ve learned of his investment and enthusiastic involvement in a startup coffee business.
And then there’s Twitter, which moved on from founder management in 2010 when it hired Dick Costolo as CEO. But he got fired last month, and the board has brought back co-founder Jack Dorsey as “interim CEO.” On Monday, he bought $875,000 of Twitter stock, showing his confidence in the company. But whether he becomes the permanent CEO depends on his plans at another company he co-founded, Square, where he’s also CEO. The Twitter board reportedly wants, reasonably, a full-time boss.
The ever-wise Peter Drucker used to ask entrepreneurs whether they wanted to create an institution that would outlive them and, if so, whether they really wanted to run that institution after it was established and successful. It’s a reminder for all leaders to ask themselves what they really want—because if they’re not doing it, they’re unlikely to succeed.
What We're Reading Today
Alphabet becomes Google’s parent company
In a blog post, Google CEO Larry Page introduced Alphabet, which will be the parent of Google and its other businesses, like its longevity-focused arm Calico and its contact lens effort Life Sciences. Of course, Google will still be its bread-and-butter, even as Alphabet helps to ensure other areas of the company have resources to grow. Page will helm Alphabet and he named Sundar Pichai Google’s new CEO.
Sundar Pichai’s fast rise within Google
You wouldn’t know it now, but Pichai‘s rise to Larry Page‘s No. 2 and Google CEO, started with a botched launch of Google Chrome in 2008. The success of the Chrome operating system, however, cemented Pichai’s standing within Google.
China devalues currency by nearly 2%
The move signals deep concern among China’s leadership that the nation’s growth has slowed.
Greece cuts a deal with its lenders
The two parties agreed to a three year, 85 billion-euro agreement. Now Greece Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will need to move the deal through parliament and get it approved by the eurozone countries.
Former legislator under fire with the DOJ
Aaron Schock, former GOP representative from Illinois, who resigned over questions regarding his travel reimbursements, is in a legal battle with the DOJ over access to his records while in Congress.
Twitter’s leaders make a move to boost its stock
On the same day Twitter signed a deal with the NFL, its top brass showed investors that they still believe in the social network. CEO Jack Dorsey, board member Peter Currie, and CFO Peter Fenton all bought stock in the company.
Building a Better Leader
From the football field to tech hiring
Why has the Rooney Rule, which requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching and general manger positions, become a tactic to increase hiring of women and minorities at technology companies?
How much time should you spend around your boss?
Six hours looks like the Goldilocks amount of time (just right).
Adobe follows in Netflix, Microsoft’s footsteps
The software company doubled its maternity leave for employees to 26 weeks. Primary caregivers and new parents now get 16 weeks of full paid leave.
Two Become One
Chobani shows an interest in coffee
Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of the yogurt company, has taken a significant stake in La Colombe Coffee Roasters and has started serving it in the Chobani Cafe in New York City.
Alibaba bets big on retail in China
Jack Ma‘s company invested $4.5 billion to purchase almost 20% of Suning Commerce Group, a large electronics retailer. The move could also help boost Alibaba’s logistics operations.
Carlyle Group buys data storage company for $8 billion
The private equity firm purchased Veritas from Symantec. Veritas will run as a separate company, with Bill Coleman, founder of BEA Systems (now owned by Oracle), as CEO.
Up or Out
Ramon Baez, Hewlett-Packard Global CIO, has taken on an additional role as senior vice president for customer advocacy at HP Enterprise. Once a split of the consumer business is finalized, Baez will continue full-time in this role after HP Enterprise names a new CIO.
Aluminum producer Novelis has named Steve Fisher as its new president and CEO.
Tim Cook invests in odd water startup
The Apple CEO has become a first investor in a six-person showerhead company.
Company swindled by cybercriminals for over $40 million
It’s a growing form of crime called “CEO fraud.”
NFL teams use virtual reality in training camp
The Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, and Minnesota Vikings have adopted VR to prepare for game situations.