By Alan Murray and David Meyer
April 19, 2018

Good morning.

Fortune’s World’s Greatest Leaders list is out this morning, and at the top of it are a bunch of kids—the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and elsewhere, who have challenged the powerful NRA with surprising effectiveness. That says something important about the nature of modern leadership. We live at a time when the captains of business and government are being taken on by surging currents of social media-fed sentiment. If you have any doubts about that, ask Harvey Weinstein —who once ruled Hollywood but was toppled last year by the #MeToo movement, which is No. 3 on the Fortune list.

Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms have captured this change in their just-published book, New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World–and How to Make it Work For You. They argue that “old power”–top down, jealously guarded, held by the few–is giving way to “new power”–bottom-up, participatory, peer-driven. The future belongs to “those best able to channel the participatory energy of those around them–for the good, for the bad, and for the trivial.” Expect to hear more of this in the future.

Some other interesting changes in the nature of leadership are reflected in the list. The top CEO in the group is Merck’s Ken Frazier, at No. 5, who was the first of President Trump’s business advisers to step down after the president blamed “both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville. Not long ago, no CEO would have dared to throw himself into the midst of such a controversy, with no direct relevance to his or her business. But these days, it is becoming almost commonplace–witness Delta’s Ed Bastian (No. 50 on the list), who eliminated a discount for NRA members in the wake of the Parkland shootings; or the small army of business leaders who opposed North Carolina’s restrictions on transgender access to public bathrooms.

Team Trump makes two appearances on this year’s list. One is Scott Gottlieb, who was appointed by the president to head the Food and Drug Administration. He’s earning broad kudos by pushing creative ways to slow skyrocketing medical prices and speeding the development of digital technologies. (Gottlieb is also a skilled user of social media.) The other is General Joseph Dunford, who has shown remarkable staying power as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Chief executives on the Leaders list, in addition to Frazier and Bastian, include: BlackRock’s Larry Fink (No. 8), GM’s Mary Barra (No. 11), Apple’s Tim Cook (No. 14), Tencent’s Pony Ma (No. 19), Salesforce’s Marc Benioff (No. 21), Reliance Industries’ Mukesh Ambani (No. 24), J.P. Morgan’s Jamie Dimon (No. 33), Grupo Bimbo’s Daniel Servitje Montull (No. 36), DSM’s Feike Sijbesma (No. 44), and Santander’s Ana Botin (No. 46).

You can view the entire list here.

More news below.

Alan Murray


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