Most people didn't plan to learn much from the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, but did get a reward: Who will be the next chief executive officer?
Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger was asked, in answer to an outside inquiry, whether the firm could be too complicated to handle in the future.
He would outlast the company's decentralization, he declared.
but it was enough to attract a group of attention-seekers who've been following the conglomerate's headquarters at least 90-year-old Chairman and CEO Buffett, who asked for succession arrangements at the end of the man's term who are now no longer in charge. Some saw that as a lock for Vice Chairman of the noninsurance Greg Abel, who does all but insurance.
The proof was in the pudding; it proved true, CNBC would verify.
the three of the directors concurred with Buffett, and one of them said if anything happens tonight, it will be Greg who gets to take over tomorrow He lavished praise on Abel, the insurance manager in charge of all of Berkshire, and on Ajit Jain, the vice-chairman.
in 2018, both had been seen as the front-runners for the role “We pray that nothing tragic can happen to Greg tonight, but we're saying it's a toss-up between him and Ajit,” said Buffett, and then stating that age is a deciding factor for the board. It's evident that Abel is 58 and Jain is 69 years old. They are both kind men. How long a business will rely on good sales to remain profitable depends on whether there's a 20-year runway.
There has been a discussion that has gone on for over 15 years about who will take over from Warren Buffett. It was long thought that Buffett's replacement would be MidAmerican Energy's David Sokol, who recently took over NetJets and renamed it Berkshire Hathaway Energy. He became a target of government investigators after it was discovered that he had taken a $10 million interest in a pharmaceutical firm Lubrizol before advocating that Berkshire invest in it.
According to Buffett, Munger was only putting in writing what has been the board's accepted procedure for years. The consensus on the 'who's the one to take over decision has always been unanimous, said Buffett. For better or worse, the universe has taken note.