Buffett Makes Successor Known

Greg Abel is next up to run Berkshire Hathaway, followed by Ajit Jain
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2021 5:29 PM CDT

(Newser) – Warren Buffett said Monday that he's chosen his successor from his vice chairmen, though he didn't say anything about retiring. Greg Abel, 58, who's already in charge of Berkshire Hathaway's noninsurance business, would become chief executive, CNBC reports. Next in line is Ajit Jain, 69, who manages its insurance operations. "The directors are in agreement that if something were to happen to me tonight, it would be Greg who'd take over tomorrow morning," Buffett said. "They're both wonderful guys. The likelihood of someone having a 20-year runway though makes a real difference." Buffett didn't give any hints about stepping aside, however, per CNN. He's 90, and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger is 97. Munger had seemed to provide the successor's name at the annual meeting over the weekend, when he answered a question with, "Greg will keep the culture."

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Abel and Jain were promoted to vice chairmen in 2018 and added to the board of directors. Abel came up through Berkshire's energy division, per Yahoo Finance. Having all three onstage with Buffett at the meeting shows his "commitment to ensuring a smooth succession," Laura Rittenhouse, who's written about Buffett, said before the meeting. "It's a way for shareholders to get to know more about these two potential successors." Any successor faces a tough task. "They're not going to be another Warren Buffett, and in some ways it's very difficult to succeed him," said Robert Miles, another Buffett author. "It's kind of like wearing Babe Ruth's number and his uniform. You’re not going to be Babe Ruth—you're just going to be the best you are." (Buffett tangles with Robinhood.)

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