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Power Sheet – September 25, 2015

A couple of illuminating windows into leadership this morning.

First is the new edition of Fortune’s annual 40 Under 40 list of the most influential young people in business. The ranking is all new this year, so you won’t find a bunch of usual suspects, and in fact I guarantee that you’ve never heard of most of them. They’re all astoundingly accomplished, and I was particularly intrigued by those who are not entrepreneurs—the ones who, at impossibly youthful ages, have climbed high in giant, established companies. Some have had to show extraordinary leadership in order to do so. Consider:

No. 4: Dhivya Suryadevara, 36, VP of Finance and Treasurer, General Motors; CEO, GM Asset Management. She manages $80 billion of assets in one of America’s largest pension operations. Also responsible for GM’s capital planning, capital market activities, and worldwide banking.

No. 7: Vas Narasimhan, 39, Global Head of Development, Novartis Pharmaceuticals. I couldn’t believe this at first. He’s a doctor and a former McKinsey consultant who now oversees drug development at one of the world’s largest pharma companies, in charge of 9,600 employees, 143 projects, 500 current clinical trials, and a multi-billion-dollar budget.

No. 11: Jason Buechel, 37, EVP and CIO, Whole Foods Market. A key part of Whole Foods’ success is that its top team members have been working together for a long time. Buechel entered the top group in July after just two years with the company; the next most junior member has been there 19 years. IT is a big operation at the company, critical to its future, as it is for every retailer.

No. 13: Noah Wintroub, 39, Vice Chairman, J.P. Morgan Chase. He’s the youngest ever vice chairman of the bank, an Internet and tech evangelist who came aboard when Chase bought his employer, Hambrecht & Quist. He leads the bank’s Internet and digital media practice and has advised Facebook, Alibaba, LinkedIn, and other tech aristocrats.

No. 17: Karen Fang, 39, Managing Director, Bank of America. She runs a specialized investment strategy group that has grown from 10 people to 55 under her leadership. In April, the World Economic Forum named her a Young Global Leader.

No. 24: Stephanie Cohen, 38, Global head of M&A for financial sponsors, Goldman Sachs. That somewhat mystifying title means she’s in charge of M&A done by private equity firms. It’s a new unit that she’s building, having previously co-headed industrial M&A.

This group of stars does more than inspire us. It also reminds us that many of today’s most successful young leaders are found far from IT-based startups.

Today’s other window into leadership is a brand new venture of Cornell University and Fortune. Together we’re offering an online learning program called “Mastering 21st Century Business Strategy.” It’s taught by Cornell business professor Justin Johnson with the help of several Fortune journalists, and while you might expect me to think it’s good—which I emphatically do—it also strikes me as especially well conceived for today’s rising business leaders. It’s convenient, efficient, and deeply substantive. I hope it makes the significant contribution to leadership that I expect it to.

What We’re Reading Today

John Boehner to resign from Congress in October

The House Speaker, who has suffered from immense pressure from conservatives within the GOP, will step down from his leadership position and leave Congress next month. The timing is awkward to say the least, given that Congress must hurry to avoid a potential government shutdown in October.  NYT

VW set to tap Porsche head to replace Winterkorn

Matthias Müller, 62, has held the top spot at Porsche since 2010. Earlier this year, former CEO Martin Winterkorn waged an internal battle for control with then-supervisory board chief Ferdinand Piech, grandson of the creator of the VW Beetle. Piech wanted to appoint Müller CEO, but Winterkorn won out. With the emissions scandal roiling at the auto giant, Müller would take the reins at one of the lowest points in the company’s history. Yahoo News

Federal Reserve expects to raise rates this year

In a lengthy speech on Thursday, Fed Chair Janet Yellen outlined the case for raising interest rates. It was a warning to investors that a rate increase is coming. Yellen, 69, required medical attention near the end of her talk. Dehydration was to blame, and the Fed chair continued with her day following a check-up from medical personnel. WSJ

 

Apple launches the iPhone 6s today 

The new phones go on sale across the world, including in the U.S., UK, and China. Per most Apple launches, reports of long lines have been streaming in. Apple has said it expects record sales, though it’s worth watching what happens in China. CEO Tim Cook is a big believer in China’s economic strength. CNBC

Building a Better Leader

Succession planning at America’s oldest brewery

The five-generation family business D.G. Yuengling & Sons is preparing for CEO Dick Yuengling to pass the business to his four daughters. But he’s not sure he’s ready just yet. NYT

Ernst & Young stopped requiring degrees

The UK offices of the accounting firm will no longer require the certification for new hires, saying it “found no evidence to conclude previous success in higher education correlated with future success.” Huffington Post

U.S. companies quick to give board seats…

…to activist investors. It takes only an average of 56 days for an activist investor who threatens a proxy contest to earn a seat on a company’s board. That’s down from 83 days in 2010.  Reuters

Political Gatherings

Obama to meet with Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly requested the meeting, which will take place next week during the United Nations General Assembly. The two haven’t talked formally since June 2014, when they had a 15-minute conversation at a D-Day commemoration. On the docket will be Russia’s forces in Ukraine and its continued military aid of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Washington Post

China to announce new environmental policy

While visiting President Barack Obama at the White House today, China President Xi Jinping is expected to announce a cap-and-trade program. The new policy will limit emissions from Chinese companies by adding costs to releasing carbon into the air. Although details remain thin, it’s a win for the Obama administration, which has pushed for China to adopt greener technologies. CNN

The Pope will speak at the United Nations

It will be the largest ever UN gathering of world leaders. While presidents and prime ministers expect a “moral flogging” from the Pope over issues of environment, immigration and the poor, it’s a huge boost for the UN and its secretary, Ban Ki-moon, highlighting the ability of the organization to bring world leaders together. NYT

Up or Out

McDonald’s has hired Kraft Food Group executive vice president of growth initiatives and president of international Chris Kempczinski as chief strategy officer. It also promoted David Fairhurst to global chief people officer. WSJ

Drugmaker Novartis has announced that its chief scientist, Mark Fishman, will retire in March 2016. Harvard University’s James E. Bradner will join Novartis in January, and will ultimately take the reins from Fishman. FierceBiotech

Pete Tseronis, the Energy Department’s chief technology officer, has resigned to join the private sector. NextGov

Stanford Health Care President and CEO Amir Dan Rubin announced he’s stepping down to join UnitedHealth Group as an executive vice president. Santa Cruz Sentinel

Fortune Reads and Videos

Jason Robins is blowing up fantasy sports 

But his biggest hurdle may be over whether states classify daily fantasy sports as gambling. Fortune

Marco Rubio attacks Trump

The presidential candidate had avoided lashing out at the real estate mogul, but that seems to have changed, calling Donald Trump “touchy” and “insecure.” Fortune

Alibaba’s Jack Ma says company is still growing…

…and he claims it will be larger than Walmart by this year, despite China’s struggling economy. Fortune

Five robots that could change industries

But they still have a long way to go before they’re life-like. Fortune

Today’s Quote

“There is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps.” —Pope Francis speaking to the U.S. Congress  NPR

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Produced by Ryan Derousseau
@ryanderous
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