Greg Abel confirmed as Buffett’s successor
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has confirmed that the vice chairman of his Berkshire Hathaway investment conglomerate, Greg Abel, will succeed him as chief executive.
The 90-year-old’s succession plan was teased by his longtime business partner, Charlie Munger, 97, at the company’s annual meeting at the weekend. Buffet, speaking on CNBC yesterday, confirmed the choice.
“If something were to happen to me tonight, it would be Greg who’d take over tomorrow,” he said.
Buffett has amassed a $100bn (£72bn) fortune leading Berkshire Hathaway, a $644bn investment group. The business owns stakes in Apple, Duracell and Dairy Queen.
Buffett has long been seen as a counterpoint to the unbridled wheeler dealing of Wall Street. Some of the US’s wealthiest people, including Bill Gates, have entrusted him with dispersing their fortunes.
In choosing the 55-year-old Abel, whose responsibilities include stakes in railroad companies, utilities, manufacturers, retailers and auto dealerships, Buffett said: “He does a far better job of that than I was doing previously.”
If Abel cannot do the job, he added, another vice chairman, Ajit Jain, would become CEO.
“We have a great deal of comfort with Abel as CEO and with the overall future leadership of the company,” said Jim Shanahan, analyst at investment firm Edward Jones.
Buffett has fretted of late that Berkshire cannot find a big acquisition to put its near-$145bn cash pile into. Over the weekend, he warned against the current boom in special purpose acquisition companies.
Buffett also remarked on what described as the “casino” stock market that, he said, millions have entered into over the past year.
“It creates its own reality for a while,” he said. “and nobody tells you when the clock’s going to strike 12 and it all turns to pumpkins and mice.”