After working in Chicago as Warren Buffett’s stockbroker for more than 30 years, John Freund, managing director at Citigroup, is finally retiring from the bank by the end of March, said the company.
The 69-year-old Freund only made the headlines one time: he altered the succession plan course at Berkshire Hathaway after he accidentally warned the billionaire from Omaha, Warren Buffett, that the long time heir apparent had actually deceived him over a stock trade in the company known as Lubrizol.
Freund, in a day-to-day capacity, has executed some of the most important decisions made by Warren Buffett, including purchasing shares on behalf of Berkshire Hathaway in businesses including Freddie Mac to Coca-Cola and back again.
“I remember being at the (Berkshire Hathaway) annual meeting and passing Warren a note that we were buying some R.J. Reynolds and he said, ‘Keep on going,'” said Freund. “And I had to go down and, believe it or not, use a pay phone, because we didn’t have cellphones in ’89.”
Freund began working with Salomon Brothers in the St. Louis office in 1970, and then in 1974 he moved to Chicago and then got his territory back in Omaha when Salomon Brothers closed the St. Louis office in the late 1970s. At the time, Solomon became the Travelers Group, which ultimately became Citi.
“One time I was going to go play tennis, and it was the Fourth of July,” Freund mentioned in an interview with Fox Business in 2008, a story that was then repeated. “Warren called me at 7:30 in the morning and said, ‘You know, I’d like to buy something overseas.’ It happened to be in London. And I said, ‘Warren, there’s nobody in (the office).’ Freund said, ‘I know. But they don’t celebrate the Fourth of July in London.’ That night I got on the phone with somebody in London, and we started buying a particular stock that night. He doesn’t care if it’s a holiday. He’s always thinking about the market.”
Freund also says that he isn’t retiring from Wall Street. He is just retiring from Citigroup after 44 years and is going to look for a new job.