Tracy Britt Cool was just named the CEO of the Pampered Chef by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. This move has added more responsibility onto the shoulders of one of the top advisers of Warren Buffett, Berkshire’s chief executive officer.
The 30-year-old Cool takes the helm for Doris Christopher, founder, who has led the cooking supply company, based out of Addison, as interim CEO since last December. She is also company chairman. We learn all of this in a statement released by the Pampered Chef today.
The 84-year-old Buffett has been leaning on Cool for more help with overseeing the sprawling operations of Berkshire Hathaway. She is the chairman of such units including Larson Juhl, custom picture frame manufacturer, party supplier Oriental Trading Co. and paint maker Benjamin Moore. She is also an advisor to other of Berkshire Hathaway’s subsidiaries, some that Warren Buffett has never even seen himself, and is a member of the board of H.J. Heinz Co., the ketchup maker that Berkshire Hathaway owns a 50% stake in.
“I couldn’t think of a better leadership duo at the helm of the Pampered Chef,” said Buffett in a statement. “With Tracy’s experience helping Berkshire companies reach their full potential and Doris’s passion for both the Pampered Chef’s consultants and products, I see great things in the company’s future.”
Cool first met Warren Buffett when she founded an undergraduate women’s group that visited him in Omaha. In 2009, she joined Berkshire Hathaway as a full-time employee, shortly after graduating Harvard Business School with a master’s degree.
Cool has been instrumental in bringing managers together at the annual shareholder meetings in Omaha for Berkshire Hathaway, said Buffett in an interview earlier in the year. She also helped Warren Buffett choose two new CEOs for the units of which she is the chairman. Buffett says that his main focus is on the largest operations at Berkshire Hathaway, including Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad and Geico.
“She thinks like I would,” said Buffett in January. “Tracy is available to work on things that I probably should work on, but either am too busy or too lazy.”
Berkshire Hathaway purchased the Pampered Chef back in 2002. This company sells housewares and kitchen supplies directly to consumers through a network of people that it refers to as “consultants.”
It is one of the smaller units of Berkshire Hathaway, and in recent years it has been trimming staff. At the end of 2013, the company had 676 employees. Five years earlier, the company at 814 employees, according to the annual reports of Berkshire Hathaway.