Warren Buffett Declares His Successor Found After Reaching 50 Year Milestone

Though the board of Berkshire Hathaway has long been aware of Buffett's choice, he previously preferred to keep options open.

Billionaire Warren Buffett announced to shareholders on Saturday that Berkshire Hathaway had found the right person to succeed him as CEO, while the company’s vice chairman identified several possible candidates.

Both the 84-year-old Buffett and Charlie Munger, the 91-year-old vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, released letters to shareholders on Saturday, according to Reuters. Though Buffett has previously stated in his annual missive that the board has long been aware of his chosen successor, he has also noted that he preferred to keep all options available.

“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 asserted. “In certain important respects, this person will do a better job than I am doing.”

In the letter, Buffett hinted strongly that this successor already works within Berkshire Hathaway, and detailed the challenges that will face the CEO who follows him. Noting that at some point in the future, the company’s earnings would exceed the ability of management to intelligently re-invest them, Buffett also pointed out that his successor would need to possess the strength to keep the conglomerate from falling into the same institutional decay that has afflicted many other major companies in the past.

Munger, meanwhile, singled out Greg Abel, who heads Berkshire’s energy companies, and Ajit Jain, the head of reinsurance, as individuals who would be “under-described as ‘world-class.'” Noting their abilities, Munger said he chose to describe them both as “World-leading,” before comparing them favorably to Buffett.

“In some important ways, each is a better business executive than Buffett.”

Investors have long speculated about who will succeed Warren Buffet, the world’s third richest man, when he steps down from the conglomerate he has helmed for half a century. As MSN points out, Buffett has also suggested that his son, Howard, take his place as a non-executive chairman, guarding against a botched CEO appointment.

Earlier this month, Buffett made headlines when Berkshire Hathaway liquidated all of its holdings in ExxonMobil. As the Inquisitr previously noted, the conglomerate’s stake in the energy company was worth nearly $4 billion.

Under Buffett’s skilled leadership, Berkshire has grown to a market value of $363 billion, spread among over 80 operating businesses. The conglomerate was initially a failing textile company when Warren Buffett first took the reins in 1965.

[Photo by Paul Morigi/ Getty Images]