News of leaders and of interest to leaders in the week ahead:
-Bids for Yahoo’s core business will be coming in, the deadline having been extended to next Monday. Who bids and what happens next will tell us a lot about whether CEO Marissa Mayer and the board under chairman Maynard Webb are genuinely committed to getting the best deal for shareholders, or may be, as activist investor Jeff Smith has suggested, slow-walking the process. It will be instructive to see who bids and how much we’re told. Dow Jones began reporting yesterday that Britain’s Daily Mail is interested, and Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam has done everything but buy billboard space to make his interest clear; the identity of other bidders is mostly speculation. And BTW, I have no idea whether one of those rumored bidders, Fortune parent Time Inc., will pull the trigger.
-China will announce first quarter GDP growth on Friday (10 pm EDT Thursday). The number is extraordinarily important for companies in a wide range of industries – that is, if you believe the number, which many experts don’t. A couple of points to keep in mind, regardless of what’s reported: One, growth is extremely uneven across geographies and industries, just like anywhere else, so a low number, as widely anticipated, isn’t bad for everyone; concrete and steel companies are hurting, for example, while mobile phones are booming. Two, Chinese authorities have long believed that growth of at least 7% to 7.5% is necessary to accommodate restive rural workers moving to cities in search of a better life; a number in the 6% range would feed worries of social disruption. And whatever number is reported is probably overstated.
-U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron will be trying to climb out of a hole after the Panama Papers showed that his father housed an investment fund in an overseas company. Cameron acknowledged that he had invested in the fund and had sold his stake at a profit of $30,500 shortly before taking office. He also felt compelled to promise that he would release years of tax returns, which no leader of any U.K. political party has ever done. He’ll certainly be taking heat on the issue today in Parliament, but the problem is unlikely to be politically fatal. His challenge will be putting it behind him so he can focus on other problems, especially growing public favor of a Brexit, which he opposes.
-And on what many will consider a lighter note, but it really isn’t, Arianna Huffington’s Sleep Revolution College Tour begins its first full week today at Stanford and UC Berkeley. Huffington is an evangelist for sleep, and rightly so; see the item on Aetna below, for example. Sleep deprivation harms individuals, organizations, and nations, yet it’s a badge of honor at many companies and at most colleges and universities. Obviously leaders are especially susceptible. They need to get right on this issue – for their own good, and because a key element of their job is to model behavior for others.
A post-script to an item from last week: TV’s best reality show delivered once again. This year’s Masters Tournament was more emotionally draining than any in years. I have to go now. I’m still recovering.
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What We’re Reading Today
Daily Mail joins list of Yahoo suitors
The U.K. media company joins a group of as many as 40 companies interested in purchasing Yahoo’s internet business. Lowell McAdam‘s Verizon Communications remains the perceived front-runner. Marissa Mayer‘s company extended the deadline for bidding until April 18. WSJ
Shareholders argue against BP CEO’s pay raise
CEO Bob Dudley is set for a 20% pay increase to $19.6 million even though the company cut 5,000 jobs and lost a record $6.4 billion last year as oil prices fell. A British advisory group called ShareSoc has recommended that its members vote against the pay raise, and Royal London Asset Management will also oppose it. Fortune
U.K. Prime Minister faces Parliament to discuss corporate tax evasion
David Cameron wants to punish companies that let employees aid tax evaders, but the Panama Papers unveiled a trust owned by his father, from which the PM profited. Yesterday he released six years of tax data in an effort to refute any suspicions of wrongdoing. Bloomberg
Building a Better Leader
Aetna wants its employees to sleep more…
…and it’s paying them $25 a night if they can get more than seven hours of shut-eye for 20 nights in a row. Inc.
Serial entrepreneur Ido Leffler’s advice…
…to immigrant entrepreneurs: Don’t hide your accent. It has helped him stand out, he says. Fortune
Uncovering the ownership family tree of Paramount Pictures
It started with Adolph Zukor in 1912. The current owner, Viacom, is looking to add a new branch to the tree. NYT
Cruz stacking delegates against Trump
In often overlooked state party conventions, Ted Cruz is winning a battle that could damage Donald Trump if he doesn’t win the first-ballot vote at the Republican National Convention. Cruz has worked to ensure that state conventions send delegates who favor him. In Colorado, he won all 34 delegates; in Iowa, he won 11 of 12 delegates. The strategy highlights the Trump campaign’s poor organization. Fortune
Paul Ryan’s parallel policy campaign
The House Speaker is laying groundwork for potentially denying the nomination to Cruz or Trump if neither arrives at the national convention with a delegate majority. Insiders say that before the convention Ryan will unveil a full policy agenda, opposing Trump’s views on many issues, that can serve as a supplemental party platform. NYT
John Kerry visits Hiroshima
The Secretary of State is the highest ranking U.S. official to visit the site of the first atomic bombing. Kerry didn’t apologize for the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. NPR
Up or Out
SoulCycle co-founders Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice have resigned from the company, which is now owned by Equinox. They will continue on SoulCycle’s board. Fortune
USAA has hired Jennifer Sepull as CIO. WSJ
Fortune Reads and Videos
British spies tried to prevent an early leak of a Harry Potter book
In 2005, the British equivalent to the NSA warned Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury that a leaked copy of The Half-Blood Prince had surfaced. But it actually hadn’t. Fortune
Rich people live 10 years longer than poor
But life expectancy at both ends of the spectrum depends on where you live. Fortune
WordPress will encrypt traffic for a million more websites
It prevents criminals from seeing what you’re reading. Fortune
Bill Gross: Fed will raise rates once or twice this year
But the manager of Janus Global Unconstrained Bond Fund doesn’t expect the ten-year U.S. Treasury yield to move much from its current 1.7% this year. Fortune
On this day…
…in 1986, the Kellogg Company stopped giving factory tours because it feared that rivals were using the tours to spy. NYT
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|Produced by Ryan Derousseau|