FORTUNE Editor Alan Murray is taking some R&R for the next two weeks. In his absence, a number of his fellow editors are filling in. Today, Leigh Gallagher, Assistant Manging Editor and host of Fortune Live, delivers the morning paper.
One of the ways to tell the technology industry keeps gaining clout is by the caliber of talent its companies are able to draw from “old” economy industries. We first saw this in the policy arena, where tech companies lured names like Obama advisor David Plouffe (Uber), former Obama press secretary Jay Carney (Amazon) and others. Now we’re seeing tech giants make big poaches from the financial sector: Google hired Morgan Stanley CFO Ruth Porat, Anthony Noto left Goldman to become CFO of Twitter, Snapchat lured banker Imran Khan from Credit Suisse to become its chief strategy officer, and late last month came news that Blackstone CFO Laurence Tosi is headed to Airbnb.
Now we learn that Alibaba Group has hired former Goldman Sachs vice chairman J. Michael Evans as its president. Evans is a 20-year partner and a former-many-things at the firm: vice chairman, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asia Pacific, and global head of growth markets; before he retired in 2013, he was seen as a candidate to succeed Lloyd Blankfein as CEO. (As a onetime oarswoman, I have to point out that Evans is also a former Olympic gold medalist rower.)
This move is further proof of the shift of the economy’s center of gravity from finance to technology. It also signals something else: a related shift toward youth. Evans, 56, will report to Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang, who is 42. At Airbnb, Tosi will report to 33-year-old cofounder and CEO Brian Chesky, who not too long ago also lured veteran hospitality guru Chip Conley out of retirement to join his team. Evan Spiegel, Khan’s boss at Snapchat, was born in 1990.
I’m particularly attuned to this trend right now because here at Fortune, we’re in the final stages of putting together our 40 Under 40 ranking of the most influential young people in business. It’s fascinating to see these A-list executives lining up to report to bosses who might be closer in age to their children. It’s a reflection, certainly, of the huge appeal of the opportunities (and pay packages) the well-funded new economy companies can offer. It also may reflect the perception of a lack of innovation in places like finance or politics these days. At the same time, it means that as these young, fast-moving companies mature, they’re finding they need the benefit of some wisdom and seasoning. It’s a fun inversion to observe, and I’m guessing we’re going to see a lot more of it.
Shire’s $30 billion bid for Baxalta, Puerto Rico’s default and the rest of the day’s news below. Enjoy the day–and don’t forget to tune into Fortune Live, our half-hour weekly recap of the week in business, this and every Friday at 3pm.
• Shire offers $30.6 billion for Baxalta
News of this deal broke just after publication of yesterday’s CEO Daily but it is too big to ignore: Shire has made public an unsolicited takeover bid for rare-disease treatment maker Baxalta. The proposed tie-up pushes unsolicited U.S. takeover bids to a multiyear high by value, as CEOs are pursuing targets even though large public takeover fights lead to distractions and risks. Buyers have gone public with $383 billion in unsolicited takeover offers this year, according to Dealogic, on track to approach 2007’s record of $818 billion. WSJ (subscription required)
• Fox announces GOP debate roster
Businessman Donald Trump, with his first place lead in the polls, will hold center stage at the inaugural GOP 2016 presidential debate Thursday in Cleveland, Ohio. He will be flanked by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Fox News only allowed the top 10 candidates who ranked high enough in a collection of recent polls to earn a spot on the stage. Several hopefuls, including former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, missed the cut. Fortune
• Netflix’s pro-parent policy
Netflix has unveiled a pretty progressive workplace perk: it is now allowing employees to take unlimited maternity or paternity leave during the first year after their child’s birth or adoption. During that year, Netflix promises to keep paying them normally, eliminating the hassle of having to switch to disability leave. Netflix deserves praise for the policy but unlimited time off policies have their pitfalls, as taking too much time away from the office can also strain workplace relations. Fortune
• Disney goes defensive on ESPN
Walt Disney executives have been forced to defend their strategy for ESPN in the age of cable cord-cutting. Disney acknowledged that EPSN has experienced subscriber losses, but sees value in the long term rights to NBA, college football playoffs and other programming. CEO Robert Iger essentially squashed rumors of a standalone package for ESPN, saying he doesn’t foresee declines in cable subscriptions over the next five years that would require the launch of that product. WSJ (subscription required)
• Another debt worry for Puerto Rico
After defaulting for the first time ever this week, Puerto Rico also quietly disclosed in a financial filing that it had temporarily stopped making contributions of $92 million a month to a fund that is used to make payments on an additional $13 billion in bond debt. A small payment from the fund is due on Sept. 1. Even more worrisome? A bigger payment of about $370 million on general obligation bonds is due on Jan. 1. If the island missed that one, “it would be an earthquake for markets,” predicted a financial research expert. New York Times (subscription required)
Around the Water Cooler
• GE preps industrial-strength cloud
Here at Fortune, we are pretty obsessed with the Internet of Things, a term used to describe Internet-connected devices and sensors that can be used to control and track physical objects. General Electric is also a believer. It is formally announcing a cloud project built specifically to handle the types of data generated by jet engines, power generation gear and MRI scanners. The cloud will be available to outside customers in 2016, after an internal beta test. Fortune
• Why Google could buy Twitter
Twitter takeover talks have surfaced recently as the social media company’s stock has been under pressure, user growth continues to disappoint observers, and a gloomy outlook by executives. Some argue Google would make a good fit as the potential acquirer, as the search engine company is scaling back on social network play Google+. Google’s efforts have always been about tapping into real-time behavioral data from users. It would get that access with a Twitter deal. Fortune
• Lexus debuts a working hoverboard
Any child (or adult) of the 1980s who saw “Back to the Future 2” will recall the iconic scene that showed Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly using a hoverboard to escape from a pack of villains. In reality, the gadget comes not from Mattel (the branded maker in the film), but from Toyota’s luxury car brand Lexus. The device has a limited battery life and Lexus had to install hundreds of magnets in a skate park to make the magnetic levitation work, but it showcases a cool way large firms can think outside the box when it comes to design and technical innovation. Bloomberg
5 things to know today
Motorola investment and Tesla earnings–5 things to know today. Today’s story can be found here.