Jain, Abel appointments a move toward succession at Berkshire Hathaway: Warren Buffett

by Frankie Norman January 11, 2018, 0:26
Jain, Abel appointments a move toward succession at Berkshire Hathaway: Warren Buffett

"They know each other well, they like each other well, they both have their areas of specialty", he said.

Mr Abel, 55, now chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, has been named as vice chairman for non-insurance business operations.

Berkshire Hathaway has promoted two long-serving executives as it contemplates a future without billionaire boss Warren Buffett. Buffett had refused to name them, but investors who follow Berkshire had long included Jain and Abel on their short lists.

It was Munger's idea for Abel, Jain, and himself to all have vice chair titles, Buffett said.

Mr Buffett said he still goes to the office on Saturdays, but succession planning has always been part of the discussions among Berkshire Hathaway board members.

Other Connecticut subsidiaries include General Reinsurance in Stamford; Duracell in Bethel; Charter Brokerage in Norwalk; H.H. Brown Shoe in Greenwich; and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties in Wallingford. "But I think we have to be a little more careful", he said in December.

The hard-driving Buffett, who has been reluctant to name a successor, said in the past that Berkshire's board knows who would take over if something were to happen to him. His Iowa-based unit now runs several power companies in the United States, Canada and Britain, as well as natural gas pipelines and solar and wind farms. Meanwhile, Jain, who's now executive vice president of National Indemnity, will be vice chairman of insurance operations.

While Berkshire remains best known for insurance and reinsurance, the sector generates only about one-fourth of operating results as the company has diversified.

Buffett's eldest son, Howard, is expected to become Berkshire's non-executive chairman, to help preserve the company culture.

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