Full Q&A morning session from the 1999 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting with the world’s richest man and most successful investor, Warren Buffet and his partner, Charlie Munger.
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AM 1999 Hathaway Annual Meeting With Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger - Full Q&A
Getting meeting will now come to order. I'm Warren Buffett chairman of the board of directors of the company. I welcome you to this 1999 annual meeting of shareholders. I will first introduce the Berkshire Hathaway directors Goodere president in addition to myself and if you'll stand up a little hard for me to see that right down here in the front row. We have Susan t Buffett stand and remain standing please if you encourage her she'll sing another song. Howard J Buffett. Don't encourage him to say you're so now. Chase Charlie you've already met Ronald L. Olsen. Ron and Walter Scott Jr. Also with us today are partners in the firm of Deloitte Touche our auditors. They're available to respond to appropriate questions you might have concerning our firm's audit of the accounts of Berkshire Mr Forrest Crotzer Secretary of Berkshire. He will make a written record of the proceedings. Ms. Becky AMIC has been appointed inspector of elections at this meeting. She will certify to the count of votes cast in the election for directors named proxy holders for this meeting. Walter Scott Jr. and Mark D. Hamburg proxy cards have been returned through last Friday representing one million one hundred thirty three thousand six hundred eighty four class a Berkshire shares and 3 million 480 five thousand eight hundred eighty five class B Berkshire shares to be voted by the proxy holders as indicated on the cards. That number of shares represents a quorum and we will therefore directly proceed with the meeting.
We will conduct the business of the meeting and then adjourn the formal meeting after that we will entertain questions that you might have. Does the secretary ever report the number of Berkshire shares outstanding entitled to vote and represented at the meeting. Yes I do. As indicated in the proxy statement that the company the notice of this meeting it was sent by first class mail to all shareholders of record on March 5 1999 being the record date this meeting. One million three hundred forty three thousand five hundred ninety shares at last a Berkshire Hathaway common stock outstanding share entitled one vote on motions insisted at the meeting and five million two hundred sixty six thousand three hundred thirty eight shares. As the Berkshire Hathaway common stock outstanding with each year entitled to one hundredth of one vote on both at the meeting of that number one million one hundred thirty three thousand six hundred eighty one class eight shares and three million four hundred eighty five thousand eight hundred eighty five. These shares are represented at this meeting by proxies returned through last Friday. Thank you for just the one item of business of this meeting is to elect directors. If shareholders president who wishes to withdraw proxy previously sent in and vote in person on the election of directors he or she may do so. Also if any shareholder that is President has not turned into a proxy and desires a ballot in order to vote in person you may do so if you wish to do this. Please identify yourself to meeting officials in the aisles who will furnish your ballot to you.
Would those persons desiring ballots please identify themselves so that we may distribute them I'd like to make one comment before we proceed to the election of directors and that's that in the General Re proxy material from material relating to the General Re merger. It was stated that the intention was to have Ron Ferguson the CEO of General rejoin the board of Berkshire Hathaway and that offer was extended and still remains open and will remain open for his lifetime and mine at least to Ron for Ron to join the board. After thinking about it he decided that he preferred not to be on the board and in that judgment he he concurs with my feelings generally about boards and that they can restrict your it can restrict your activities in purchase and sale of the stock for example if you do it in a six month period and you're automatically in trouble with the new you have to return any profit as calculated in a rather peculiar way to the company. It means that your compensation system is laid out for the world to see. There may be some tax restrictions in terms of the accessibility of salary paid and so Ron notified me a little bit before the proxy material went out that he preferred at least to defer any decision on joining the board. I can tell you that it has cost Berkshire significant money.