Warren Buffett’s successor Greg Abel is wooing shareholders, but some questions remain

by | May 5, 2023 | Financial

To say that Warren Buffett’s successor Greg Abel has big shoes to fill would be an understatement.The vice chairman for non-insurance operations at Berkshire Hathaway recently joined Buffett in Japan to visit the country’s top trading houses. In a three-hour interview with CNBC, the 92-year-old “Oracle of Omaha” sang Abel’s praises, saying he’s taken on most of the responsibilities.related investing news 3 hours ago 4 hours ago”He does all the work, and I take the bows – it’s exactly what I wanted,” Buffett said in a CNBC interview in Japan on April 12. “He knows more about the individuals, the business, he’s seen them all…. they haven’t seen me at the BNSF Railroad for 10, 12 years or something like that.”Abel became known as Buffett’s heir apparent in 2021 after Charlie Munger inadvertently made the revelation at the shareholder meeting. Abel has been overseeing a major portion of Berkshire’s sprawling empire, including energy, railroad and retail.Buffett revealed that contrary to what many might’ve thought, there wasn’t any competition between Abel and Ajit Jain, Berkshire’s vice chairman of insurance operations, for the top job. The two of them had been viewed as top contenders since they were promoted to vice chairmen in 2018.”Ajit never wanted to run Berkshire,” Buffett said.Skin in the gameAbel recently loaded up on Berkshire Hathaway shares with his personal assets. The 60-year-old vice chairman added to his stake in Berkshire in March, bringing the total value of his holdings in the company to about $105 million.The move increased his skin in the game and raised hopes among shareholders that the culture will continue at Berkshire.”What really gives you some optimism for the future of Berkshire post Buffett Munger is him buying in a significant stake in the company,” said Bill Stone, chief investment officer at Glenview Trust and a Berkshire shareholder. “One of the beauties of Berkshire is that you always knew it was like an owner manager.”Energy questionAbel is also known for his strong expertise in the energy industry. Berkshire acquired MidAmerican Energy in 1999, and Abel became CEO of MidAmerican Energy in 2008, six years before it was renamed Berkshire Hathaway Energy in 2014.In 2022, Berkshire proposed spending nearly $4 billion to help generate more wind and solar power to Iowa. At the same time, the conglomerate has been dramatically increasing …

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