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May 4, 2021

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Buffett, 90, names his likely successor

Warren Buffett ended long-running speculation about his successor at Berkshire Hathaway Inc by saying Greg Abel, who oversees the conglomerate’s non-insurance businesses, would be named chief executive if he were to step down.

Buffett told CNBC “the directors are in agreement that if something were to happen to me tonight, it would be Greg who’d take over tomorrow morning.”

The 90-year-old Buffett has never publicly signaled any plan to step down. Abel has been a Berkshire vice chairman since 2018, after a decade building its Berkshire Hathaway Energy unit into a major US power provider.

Berkshire did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The announcement for now ends speculation that began in 2006 when Buffett, then 75, first discussed his plans for succession in his annual letter to Berkshire shareholders.

He has run Berkshire since 1965.

Buffett also told CNBC that if anything happened to Abel, the chief executive job would go to Ajit Jain, who oversees Berkshire’s insurance businesses, but is about a decade older.

“The likelihood of someone having a 20-year runway though makes a real difference,” Buffett said.

Buffett’s announcement does not change other aspects of Berkshire’s succession plans.

His son Howard is expected to become non-executive chairman, while one or both of his investment managers, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, remain in line to become chief investment officer.


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