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Power Sheet – April 13, 2016

I caught up yesterday with Tim Ryan just a few hours after he learned he’d been elected PricewaterhouseCooper’s new U.S. chairman. He was at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, recruiting – “one of my passions,” he says. Top leaders of big organizations are usually groomed or hired for the job, but it’s done differently at most of the big professional services firms. Ryan’s U.S. partners had two weeks to vote from a slate of candidates chosen by a committee of the board. The outcome wasn’t known until yesterday morning. Suddenly Ryan is the new leader, taking up the job July 1.

I asked him about leaders he admired. One was his mother, and before you roll your eyes, understand that he has a surprisingly clear reason, which you can read about here. Another was the manager of a supermarket where he worked through his high school years growing up in Dedham, Massachusetts, and through college at Babson and even for his first two years at PwC. “I was making fun of a boy behind his back,” he recalls. “The store manager, Richie Ordway, called me in and said, ‘He’s giving you 100% of what he’s capable of giving you. What more do you want?’ That taught me more about leadership than anything else could have.” One of the lessons Ryan drew from the experience: “The best leaders set you up to give 100% of what you can give.”

Ryan, 50, sees that as one of his main jobs now, for a hard-headed business reason. PwC will recruit some 11,000 U.S. graduates this year for permanent and intern positions, and it’s in ferocious competition with Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and other employers to get the best. “My single biggest responsibility is to give our people the same unimaginable opportunities that my partners and I have had in our careers,” he says. “For that reason we have to respond to their needs – flexible work arrangements, technological advancement so they’re always on the leading edge of technology, continuing to invest in their development.” Enabling them to give all they can give helps attract the best young people.

Ryan knows he may well have to lead a change in the accounting and consulting business model, which is over a century old. “The traditional rate per hour model will be changed, and we welcome that,” he says. The new model may go beyond the pay-for-results model taking hold in many industries. “I see growth in solving problems through eco-systems,” he says. “Look at big societal problems – cyber, food safety. We could lead an eco-system to solve those. If we’re going to stay relevant, we need to be one of the leading forces.”

All the issues Ryan foresees are important ones for most business leaders. And his job includes an unusual feature that offers an instructive insight for others: He faces an end date, July 1, 2020. He can run for re-election, but knowing exactly when he’ll be formally judged by his peers imposes a discipline that would help virtually all leaders do their jobs.

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What We’re Reading Today

Nearly 40,000 Verizon workers go on strike

Employees of Verizon’s landline business walked out this morning after eight months of contract negotiations. Lowell McAdam‘s company said it was prepared for a strike and has trained non-union contractors to do needed work.  Fox News

Panama raids Mossack Fonseca 

The law firm at the center of the Panama Papers was raided as the country’s attorney general seeks evidence of illegal activities. Mossack Fonseca co-founder Ramon Fonseca says the company has done nothing wrong. The document leak revealed efforts by prominent officials around the world took to reduce taxes or hide money, naming British Prime Minister David Cameron‘s father, family members of Chinese President Xi Jinping, and associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin, among many others. Reuters

Email questioned Sumner Redstone’s mental health… 

…as far back as a year ago. A lawyer who had worked for the law firm that represented Redstone feared that if the state of his mental health became public, he could be forced to step down as chairman of Viacom and CBS. The associate was concerned Redstone would attack daughter Shari Redstone in a Vanity Fair interview, leading her to seek control over his financial affairs, according to the email with Redstone’s companions Sydney Holland and Manuela Herzer. Viacom says it had no knowledge of the email. WSJ

Sean Parker launches cancer effort

The founder of Napster and early investor in Facebook is giving $250 million to launch the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. It will help coordinate collaboration among six cancer institutes to speed development of immunotherapy. Fortune

Building a Better Leader

Shopify wanted its new open office to appeal to introverts 

Multi-purpose furniture and a series of quiet corners were the answer. Inc.

The problem with modern work… 

…is that it’s actually an old way of working. Contract workers and lack of job security typified employment before the rise of large companies. Fortune

Don’t treat your ideas as if they’re your kids

Ideas must be regarded more like a science experiment, microscope and scalpel included. SmartBrief

Financial Concerns

Regulators to reject ‘living wills’ of many banks  

Federal regulators are reportedly set to reject at least half of the eight systemically important banks’ mandatory ‘living wills,’ which are plans for unwinding an institution if it fails. Jamie Dimon‘s JPMorgan, America’s biggest bank, is among those with inadequate plans. The rulings, which could come this week, aren’t final. WSJ

Valeant bond investor calls a default 

The company says one of its bond investors, Centerbridge Partners, sent a notice of default because the pharmaceutical firm didn’t file its annual report on time. The action is a signal that investors have grown weary with the company, still led by outgoing CEO J. Michael Pearson. Valeant faces a Senate investigation of its drug pricing strategy and business practices. Reuters

Peabody Energy files for bankruptcy 

Coal giant Peabody Energy filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy for most of its U.S. businesses, citing $10.1 billion of debt. Glenn Kellow‘s company will continue to operate during bankruptcy proceedings, and none of its Australian businesses are included. It’s at least the fourth coal company to face bankruptcy as plunging coal prices, cheap natural gas, and tougher environmental regulations have dampened prospects. Bloomberg

Up or Out

PulteGroup director James Grosfeld has stepped down amid a power struggle between Chairman and CEO Richard Dugas and company founder Bill Pulte. Atlanta Business Chronicle

Fortune Reads and Videos

American Apparel lays off hundreds

It may outsource some of its clothing production but would keep it in the U.S, says CEO Paula Schneider. Fortune

The CEO with the biggest raise in 2015…

…was Sandeep Mathrani, head of General Growth Properties. His pay jumped 702% to $39 million while sales and operating profits fell. Fortune

Bernie Sanders picks up his first Senate endorser

It’s Oregon’s Jeff Merkley. Hillary Clinton has about 40 endorsements from Senators. Fortune

Ford opened applications to buy its new Ford GT 

The “supercar” will carry a price in the mid-$400,000 range. Fortune

On this day…

…in 1998, BankAmerica and NationsBank agreed to a merger worth just over $60 billion. It created Bank of America, the first coast-to-coast national bank.  CNNMoney

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