Warren Buffett says Berkshire has 'right person' as heir

Sat Feb 28, 2015 2:36pm EST
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By Luciana Lopez and Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Warren Buffett, the billionaire chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, told investors on Saturday that the company had found his successor, and the company's vice chairman, Charlie Munger, identified two Berkshire executives as candidates.

In Berkshire's annual report to shareholders, Greg Abel, the head of Berkshire's energy companies, and Ajit Jain, a top insurance executive, were said by Munger to be "proven performers who would probably be under-described as 'world-class.'"

"'World-leading' would be the description I would choose," Munger said in a letter to Berkshire shareholders. "In some important ways, each is a better business executive than Buffett."

Buffett's son, Howard, would become non-executive chairman after the departure of his father, who is also Berkshire's chairman.

In his previous letters to shareholders, the 84-year-old Buffett has said Berkshire board had been fully aware of his chosen successor but that he was keeping his options open.

Investors have long speculated about who would, or could, succeed Buffett, particularly after he was diagnosed with, and then beat, prostate cancer in 2012.

Munger, whom Buffett describes as "my partner," is 91.

"Both the board and I believe we now have the right person to succeed me as CEO – a successor ready to assume the job the day after I die or step down," Buffett said.   Continued...

Warren Buffett, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, poses for a portrait in New York October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri