Tracy Britt, chairwoman of four of Buffet’s companies, is rumored to be groomed as a possible successor to Warren Buffet.
The 28-year-old Tracy Britt has a Harvard MBA and an office next to CEO Buffett’s at Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B)’s headquarters, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal by Anupreeta Das.
Tracy Britt Began Working for Buffett In 2009
Tracy Britt began working for Buffett in 2009 as a financial assistant, and in four short years has become a trusted confidante of the billionaire and chairwoman of four of his companies, which bring in $4 billion combined annually. Quoting some sources, the Daily Mail said she is being groomed to take over from Buffet when he retires.
In his 2007 letter to shareholders, Warren Buffet indicated that he was looking for a younger successor, or perhaps successors, to run his investment business. Speculation is mounting that Britt is that successor.
Anupreeta Das of Wall Street said that Britt caught Buffett’s attention in 2009 by bringing a bushel of corn and a basket of tomatoes to their first meeting. She grew up on a family farm called Britt’s Garden Acres that grew more than 40 different varieties of produce.
She is now the chairman of building-products company Johns Manville Corp, and paint manufacturer Benjamin Moore & Co, both cumulatively contributing over $4 billion in annual sales.
Like other Buffett lieutenants, Britt was plucked from relative obscurity to rise through the ranks of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B). Warren Buffet’s investment managers, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, were little-known hedge-fund managers before he tapped them to handle large sums of his company.
Tracy Britt is One Of The Most Influential Women
Tracy Britt is also one of the most influential women within Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B), which has three women directors on a 13-member board and five women CEO's out of 81 operating companies. During his interaction with college students in Omaha last month, Warren Buffet said: Ms. Britt "takes care of all kinds of things that come up”.
Ms. Britt also facilitated some of the discussions CEO’s of Warren Buffet’s companies had with the chairman besides arranging Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B)'s first-ever CEO roundtable on the sidelines of the annual meeting in May.
Warren Buffet also reportedly sent Tracy Britt to Brazil soon after Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) and Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital announced their intentions to buy ketchup maker H.J. Heinz & Co. (NYSE:HNZ) for $23 billion. Incidentally, this deal was Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B)’s largest acquisition since 2010.
She also helps with financial research and accompanies Buffet to meetings.
Tracy Britt first met Mr. Buffett in 2006 after she arranged a trip to Omaha with Harvard classmates from an organization she co-founded, called Smart Woman Securities, which helps women learn about investing.
In her recent blog post for Lean In, Tracy Britt recalled a line from her business-school assignment on where should be at the 10-year reunion. She posted:”My goal is to work with a great investor, who even more importantly is a wonderful teacher and mentor”.
Some analysts and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) observers said they see Ms. Britt becoming a top Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) executive in the next decade, potentially performing managerial functions such as fixing troubled businesses or negotiating deals.
During his interaction in the shareholder meeting in May, Buffet announced that he knows who his successor is, but he declined to name the person or persons.