In a press release issued this afternoon, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett announced the resignation of David Sokol. Mr. Sokol served as Chairman of several Berkshire subsidiaries and many observers, including The Rational Walk, previously believed that he was the front runner to eventually assume the CEO position at Berkshire Hathaway. Read this article for our views on the resignation.
The Times of India has published a rare interview with Ajit Jain which coincides with Warren Buffett’s arrival in Bangalore today. Mr. Buffett’s trip to India coincides with the company’s entry into the Indian auto insurance industry through Berkshireinsurance.com, a majority owned subsidiary that has a direct sales strategy similar to Berkshire’s GEICO division. Read this article for more details.
Alice Schroeder, author of The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, has written an op-ed article for The Financial Times ahead of Saturday’s release of Berkshire Hathaway’s annual report. In the article, Ms. Schroeder urges Warren Buffett to provide shareholders with more transparency regarding succession issues at Berkshire and cites the situation at Apple to bolster the case for additional disclosure. Read this article for our thoughts on Ms. Schroeder’s op-ed.
Warren Buffett’s leadership over nearly five decades has resulted in an unparalleled track record and thousands of loyal shareholders, many of whom have invested in the company mainly due to Mr. Buffett’s presence. Succession planning in a situation where the manager is clearly irreplaceable is obviously an unenviable task for board members. There is a widespread perception that Berkshire’s succession planning is unclear or non-existent. However, a look at the actual facts show that we do know quite a bit regarding Berkshire’s succession planning. Read this article for more details.
While Todd Combs has been at the center of a frenzy of speculation regarding Berkshire Hathaway’s succession planning this week, longtime Berkshire shareholders understand that the choice of a future Chief Executive Officer is a far more important question. The investment managers at Berkshire will all report to the future CEO who will have ultimate accountability for all capital allocation decisions. Read this article for our continuing coverage of David Sokol’s investment in Middleburg Financial.