By Geoff Colvin and Ryan Derousseau
May 12, 2016

This morning I’m turning over this note to my excellent colleagues, who have advanced three of the big leadership stories of the moment.

-Today is the scheduled meeting between Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan in Washington, apparently to see if they can iron out their differences sufficiently that Ryan, the country’s highest ranking elected Republican, could bring himself to support Trump. Party chairman Reince Priebus will also attend. As noted here yesterday, this is a classic power struggle, and Zeke J. Miller of our sister publication Time analyzes it insightfully. Those hoping for unity cannot be encouraged by a statement Trump issued yesterday, in which he seems to have decided the meeting’s outcome already: “Reince feels, and I’m okay with that, that we should meet before we go our separate ways. So I guess the meeting will take place and who knows what will happen.”

-On Tuesday I noted briefly that Sumner Redstone’s video-recorded testimony in a lawsuit last Friday raised serious questions about his health and his ability to lead CBS and Viacom, two publicly traded companies that he controls. For a truly revealing look at how this bizarre situation arose — the most deeply reported account you’ll find anywhere — please check “The Disturbing Decline of Sumner Redstone” by Peter Elkind with Marty Jones. The story is disturbing not only in human terms but also for the questions it raises about how these companies could have failed to tell shareholders about the condition of their executive chairman. It’s also a cautionary tale about the damage that unwise succession planning can do in a family business. You’ll shake your head in wonder.

-If you’re puzzled by what on earth happened to U.S. retailers yesterday, Phil Wahba explains. The sector collapsed loudly on Wall Street after Macy’s reported weak results and slashed its forecast of revenue and profit for 2016. Investors were already nervous; Gap, Victoria’s Secret, and Costco had all reported bad news last week. The Macy’s announcement tipped the balance, and investors stampeded away from the industry; Macy’s stock dropped 15%, Michael Kors fell 12%, Target and Kohl’s each fell over 5%, and many other major retailers took a beating.

But one of them did not. The eMarketer research firm yesterday released data to Fortune that pretty well explains what’s going on. It shows that Amazon, already America’s largest online retailer by far, is widening its lead. That’s why Amazon stock was up 1.5%. Investors don’t dislike retailers. They just dislike retailers who aren’t Amazon. How the rest will climb out of this hole is the great question they all face.

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