Who will be Warren Buffett’s successor is becoming an increasingly relevant question. Warren Buffett is currently 79 and whetherit is next year or in twenty years, eventually he will not be able to run a large corporation like Berkshire Hathaway. Charlie Munger is no youngster either. Munger is currently 86 and will be missing the special meeting of Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholders. This has fueled speculation that Munger’s health is deteriorating.
The succession issue is vital to both current and future Berkshire holders. Alice Schroeder, author of Snowball was on Bloomberg TV yesterday discussing possible successors forWarren Buffett.
Schroeder thinks David Sokol of Net Jets is a possible choice. She thinks a lot of the outcome depends on his success at the turnaround of Net Jets.
Schroeder says that Buffett has changed his mind on the succession issue several times. Schroeder stated there are many people who want Ajit Jain who runs re-insurance division to take the job, but Ajit has stated that he does not want the job. She also believes the odds of him being chosen have gone down after the BNI deal. The reason is Buffett would need someone who has experience outside the financial services industry to run BNI.
Kevin Clayton from Clayton Homes is a possibility since he is young and understands the business. Tony Nicely at GEICO would be a good choice, but he is too old.
There are possible candidates outside the company. Byron Trott who is Buffett’s personal banker is a possibility.
Schroeder thinks that after the BNI deal he will want someone with operating experience. She states there is no one with railroad experience in the company.
The interview ends without a definitive answer on the successor.