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Power Sheet – February 26, 2016

Leadership is often about combat – that’s why we look to generals and admirals for leadership lessons – and today’s news offers four instructive examples:

-Apple CEO Tim Cook vs. the FBI and director James Comey. Apple filed court papers yesterday in its escalating fight with the FBI over opening a San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. The filing, which seeks to vacate a court order and is a riposte to an FBI filing last week, is hard-hitting, arguing that “the unprecedented order requested by the government finds no support in the law and would violate the Constitution.” It’s becoming clear that a central question in the case may be a technological one: The FBI contends that the new software it wants Apple to write could be created in a way that would affect only the phone in question; Apple in its new filing says obeying the court order would render all iPhones vulnerable to “hackers, identity thieves, and unwarranted government surveillance.”

President Obama vs. Senate Republicans and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Obama is determined to show he isn’t cowed by McConnell’s insistence that the Senate won’t hold hearings on anyone the president nominates to succeed the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Obama was reportedly considering nominating Nevada Republican governor Brian Sandoval – an extremely neat bit of jiu-jitsu that would have put McConnell in a corner. But it didn’t work; Sandoval yesterday publicly took himself out of consideration. The next move is Obama’s.

-Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer vs. Starboard Value Fund’s Jeff Smith. He has launched a proxy fight against Yahoo and within a month will presumably nominate a slate of directors to replace Yahoo’s board. The New York Post reports that Mayer has spent this week in New York City courting big institutional shareholders whose votes will help decide the proxy fight’s outcome; Yahoo declined to comment on the Post’s report. Mayer is in the decidedly odd position of trying to persuade major shareholders that, given time, her turnaround plan will increase the company’s value, while back home on the West Coast a special committee of the board is accepting bids from potential buyers of the businesses that Mayer wants to turn around. One more wrinkle: Fortune’s Dan Primack reports that Mayer herself might want to lead a private equity purchase of Yahoo, and famed investment banker Frank Quattrone is contacting PE firms on her behalf.

-FIFA vs. a skeptical world. The governing body of the planet’s most popular sport, engulfed in a mammoth corruption scandal, today elects a new president to succeed Sepp Blatter, who steadfastly insists that he knew nothing about multi-million-dollar bribes that allegedly pervaded FIFA’s top echelons during his 18-year tenure. The U.S. Justice Department last year indicted several current and former FIFA officials on bribery and money-laundering charges, and the Swiss attorney general’s office has launched criminal proceedings against Blatter for “criminal mismanagement…and misappropriation.” FIFA needs a whistle-clean election and an undisputed result today if it’s even to begin regaining trust. I won’t be easily convinced. Who would be?

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What We’re Reading Today

Viacom CEO to testify about Redstone’s mental capacity 

New York state Supreme Court Justice Kathryn Freed ruled that Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman can be deposed by Sumner Redstone‘s ex-girlfriend Manuela Herzer. She claims that Dauman’s description of discussions with Redstone were false because Redstone could not speak at the time. It’s a setback for Dauman, as he tries to turn around Viacom amid the drama surrounding Redstone’s estate. Fortune

SeaWorld admits employees spied on activists 

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals accused the water park of sending employees to animal rights advocacy organizations as spies. Yesterday, SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby admitted that the company did employ the tactic to collect information on “credible threats.” Manby did not clarify what those threats were and he said the company would stop the practice.  Orlando Sentinel

Foxconn, Sharp leaders to meet today

The meeting comes a day after Foxconn announced that it would purchase Japanese technology company Sharp. But hours after the announcement, Foxconn put the merger on hold because it found out that Sharp’s liabilities were triple what it had expected. It’s unclear if the meeting between Sharp’s Kozo Takahashi and Foxconn’s Terry Gou will save the deal.  Reuters

China’s Fed Chief holds rare news conference

For the second time since the summer, the governor of China’s central bank Zhou Xiaochua spoke to finance officials across the world to ease concerns about the nation’s markets. Zhou’s news conference took place at the Group of 20 economies meeting, and it comes nearly a month after China’s markets slid into turmoil once again. Zhou said that he does not expect China to devalue its currency, and added that its flow of foreign reserves—a concern of U.S. hedge funds—is fine. NYT

Building a Better Leader

Do your senior leaders view culture like they view the weather…?

…in that there’s nothing that can be done about it? If your leaders feel that way, your employees will as well. SmartBrief

Instead of loving your job…

…love the problem you’re solving right now. Fortune

Success without stress

If you trigger the right way to decompress after the workday, it’s possible to avoid the long-term effects of stress, says Stanford researcher Emma Seppälä. Knowledge@Wharton

Elections Abound

Rubio trumps Trump

Sen. Marco Rubio came out swinging at the Republican debate in Texas last night, setting his sights on Donald Trump. He attacked Trump for hiring undocumented workers to build Trump Towers. Trump fired back that he was the only one on the panel to hire anyone. The tone brought by Rubio dominated the debate. He’ll need to keep it up if he wants to break Trump’s lead and win the nomination. Washington Post

Hillary Clinton apologizes for ‘super predator’ comment   

The apology comes after a Black Lives Matter protestor interrupted a Clinton speech on Wednesday over a term she used during a talk in 1996 to describe kids with “no conscience, no empathy” who commit crimes. Clinton said she meant the term to describe violent criminals and members of drug cartels. The apology comes as she and Bernie Sanders vie to win African American voters in South Carolina and nationally. Time

Fifa to elect a new president today 

In the soccer federation’s latest effort to move past the corruption scandals that enveloped the organization during former president Sepp Blatter‘s tenure, Fifa will choose its leader for the next four years. Tokyo Sexwale, Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein, Salman al-Khalifa, Jerome Champagne, and Gianni Infantino are running for the position. BBC

Up or Out

The Obama administration is expected to nominate U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who has ruled on many Silicon Valley technology cases, to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Fortune

Fortune Reads and Videos

Herbalife talking to the FTC to resolve business probe  

The probe was prompted after activist investor Bill Ackman claimed Herbalife was a pyramid scheme in 2012. Fortune

Walmart cuts 100 more jobs at headquarters

It follows a 450-person cut in October. Fortune

Google offers “Project Shield” to news publishers

It’s an attempt to prevent downtime due to a cyberattack. Fortune

Gambling odds are in favor of Trump and Clinton…

…to win the primaries. When it comes to a national election, money is flowing towards Clinton. Fortune

Happy Birthday

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan turns 62 today.  Biography

Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton, turns 36 tomorrow.  Biography

Ralph Nader turns 82 on Saturday.  Biography

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Produced by Ryan Derousseau