The world is sick and tired of its leaders, or so it seems this morning.
-“China Blast Corrodes Faith in Leadership,” the WSJ headlines. In China, leaders aren’t supposed to let such disasters happen, especially when they damage middle-class homes; similarly, investors thought president Xi Jinping could stop the stock market from plunging and are bitter now that they find he can’t.
-Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned yesterday, having done the exact opposite of everything the voters elected him to do in the economic crisis.
-The U.K.’s Labor Party seems about to elect as its new leader Jeremy Corbyn, an avowed socialist and anti-leader who, as an MP, has voted against his party’s position some 500 times.
-In the U.S., Republicans pondering their party’s next presidential nominee favor Donald Trump, who has never held public office.
At a moment like this, it’s easy to forget there are actually plenty of admirable leaders performing excellently right now. Here are three I especially like. They’re all in business; they all run companies on Fortune’s new Change the World list of companies that are doing well by doing good; and they’re all less known than they should be.
–Doug Baker runs Ecolab, a specialty chemical company that focuses on water management, hygiene, and food safety. He and Ecolab are constantly winning awards for responsibility and ethical standards; most recently, Baker was named Responsible CEO of the Year by Corporate Responsibility magazine. All of which is nice, but what makes him worth our attention is that he also runs a knockout business. The stock, near an all time high, has nearly quadrupled since he became chief 11 years ago.
-Unless you have diabetes, you may not know Novo Nordisk. “We’re world famous in Denmark,” an executive once told me, wryly, at HQ in Copenhagen. Even if you know the company, you may not know the CEO, Lars Rebien Sorensen. For 15 years he has been directing the company’s longtime mission of helping people worldwide with diabetes, hemophilia, and other diseases. Independent research estimates that the company’s early efforts in China have saved 140,000 life-years from diabetes-related complications. And by the way, the stock is up by a factor of 22 during Sorensen’s tenure.
-You certainly know Whole Foods Market, and let’s acknowledge right away that its stock is near a three-year low. But I don’t care—co-CEO and co-founder John Mackey, a free-spirited vegan contrarian, is as ardent a capitalist as I know while also focusing the company on health, fairness up and down the supply chain, and the social consequences of his business. He’s passionate about profit because he can’t do anything else without it. His net worth is an estimated $100 million; he pays himself $1 a year.
I like all these leaders because they’re absolutely clear about their purpose, and they’re fulfilling it. They can cheer us up as we read the headlines.
What We’re Reading Today
Greek Prime Minister resigns, calls for new elections
The move was expected after Alexis Tsipras battled to convince Greek legislators to approve an 86-billion-euro bailout. Elections will take place in September. NPR
Intuit decides to sell off Quicken
The decision to unload Intuit’s flagship product is an effort to focus resources on its small business software and TurboTax. Fortune
Boeing, supplier race to produce 737 part
If GKN PLC can’t create enough of an engine part that helps the plane slow down while landing, it could derail Boeing’s plans for a record-setting increase in production of the jetliner. WSJ
Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg battle over immigration
Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, called out Zuckerberg for his work with Marco Rubio on immigration. The Facebook founder has fired back through his immigration advocacy group FWD.us, in which the group’s president, Todd Schulte, calls deporting 11 million people “absurd.” Inc.
Nelson Peltz joins Sysco’s board
By gaining two seats – for himself and Josh Frank, an executive at Peltz’s Trian Fund Management – the activist investor signals that further changes could be coming to the food service company. Peltz announced last week that he had bought 7% of Sysco shares. NYT
Building a Better Leader
Indra Nooyi’s focus on design
It’s not just packaging, but “rethinking the entire experience from conception to what’s on the shelf,” says the Pepsi CEO. Harvard Business Review
Middle managers more likely to suffer from depression
Mangers and supervisors have the highest rates of depression in the office, according to a new study. Supervisors also have a high rate of anxiety. Washington Post
Minority-owned firms lead in sales increases
In a new study, sales increases at minority-owned firms beat increases at white-owned companies. The number of minority-owned firms remains small compared to white-owned companies, however. Quartz
Uber to triple bookings this year
According to a potential investor presentation, the company plans to reach over $26 billion in global bookings next year. Reuters
Uniqlo offers four-day workweek
The Japanese retailer will extend the opportunity to 10,000 employees, who would work 10-hour days. CNN Money
Up or Out
Tim Warner will step away as CEO of Cinemark Holdings Inc. He will be replaced by former Dreamworks executive Mark Zoradi. Dallas Business Journal
Credit card processor TSYS Inc. has named Patricia Watson CIO. She replaces the retiring, Ken Tye. WSJ
Australian oil and gas company Santos announced that CEO David Knox will step down once a successor is named. The Australian
Fortune Reads and Videos
These 51 companies are doing well by doing good
And changing the world along the way. Fortune
Second round of Ashley Madison data hits the web
This round of data dumped by hackers seems to focus on Avid Life Media, the site’s owner, and CEO Noel Biderman. Fortune
Tesla partners with AirBnB
Elon Musk‘s company will give free Tesla chargers to qualifying AirBnB hosts in an effort to increase the prevalence of the superchargers for customers while they travel. Fortune
From big winner to big loser
Here’s why Apple stock keeps getting crushed in the market. Fortune
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, turns 42. Biography
The co-founder and former CEO of AOL, Steve Case, turns 57. Biography
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|Produced by Ryan Derousseau|