Buffett says 'no jockeying' between Jain, Abel for top post: CNBC

Mon Mar 2, 2015 8:53am EST
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By Sam Forgione

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Warren Buffett, the billionaire chief executive officer and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa.N: Quote), told CNBC on Monday that Berkshire executives Ajit Jain and Greg Abel were not angling for the top Berkshire job.

In Berkshire's annual report to shareholders on Saturday, Vice Chairman Charlie Munger hinted that Jain, a top insurance executive, and Abel, the head of Berkshire's energy companies, were top candidates to succeed Buffett.

"There's no jockeying position at all" between Jain and Abel, Buffett said on CNBC.

Speculation has mounted among Berkshire investors over who will eventually succeed the 84-year-old Buffett.

The field was narrowed in the annual Berkshire letter, when Buffett said he and the board had found his successor, and Munger wrote that Abel and Jain were "proven performers who would probably be under-described as 'world-class.'"

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

On Monday, Buffett said: "When Charlie's letter came in and it referenced Greg and Ajit, it was news to me that he was writing that."

"He's right. They're very, very, very good, each one of them."   Continued...

Ajit Jain, who runs some of Berkshire's insurance operations, plays a game of bridge during Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska May 3, 2009. REUTERS/Carlos Barria