So how do you replace an oracle? By splitting the job into pieces. Warren Buffett told a record gathering of 35,000 Berkshire Hathaway shareholders that he's got three internal candidates who could easily replace him as chief executive, the Financial Times reports. The 78-year-old also has four candidates to take over what would be a new post as chief investment officer. Trouble is, none of the four beat the S&P 500 with their investments last year.
“In terms of 2008 by itself, you would not say that they covered themselves with glory,” said Buffett, who still has no immediate plans to retire. “But I didn’t cover myself in glory either in 2008.” Buffett acknowledged that his own bad bets—in particular an investment in ConocoPhillips—helped produce the worst year in company history. Though Buffett held forth on his usual range of topics, the succession issue seemed to be the primary concern of shareholders this year. (Read more Warren Buffett stories.)