Buffett Flags 39-Year-Old as Likely Successor

Todd Combs handed portion of $100 billion investment portfolio
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2010 7:39 AM CDT
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chairman Warren Buffett listens to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speak at the "Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit," Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010 in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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(Newser) – When Warren Buffett eventually steps away from Berkshire Hathaway, the title of chief investment officer will likely go to a 39-year-old named Todd Combs. The little-known hedge fund manager effectively became Candidate No. 1 after Berkshire made the surprise announcement that he would oversee part of its $100 billion investment portfolio—a big step up for Combs, who most recently managed a $400 million fund. "He is extremely well-trained, reads 500 pages a week, and does his own deep-dive research," said an associate.

Buffett, 80, insists he's not going anywhere soon, adding that Combs is "not going to take over the whole investment function as long as I'm around"—but that "If I die tonight the board has something in place." The Wall Street Journal notes that two other candidates took themselves out of the running for the job, underlining a problem with the position: Top investment managers can make billions over their career; stepping in for Buffett, who takes a $100,000 salary, won't likely return that kind of cash. "You'll make a lot of money in this job but you won't make billions," says the Oracle of Omaha.

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