Carol Loomis has an interesting charm bracelet that has a tendency to jingle a lot. It jingles so much because it contains charms of the miniature covers of the Berkshire Hathaway annual reports that she has edited for the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett, for over 40 years. In the past week, the 85-year-old Loomis announced that she plans to retire from Fortune magazine, where the native of Missouri has been an editor and reporter for 60 years since joining the staff in 1954. One final job that she will continue to do is edit Buffett’s yearly letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. Even though she doesn’t get paid – with the exception of a new charm for her bracelet each year – she has the opportunity to be one of the first to read the highly sought after thoughts about life and business from Warren Buffett, and she even has the opportunity to make suggestions as well. At heart, Carol Loomis is a reporter. She has stayed out of the limelight for the most part and mentions her friendship every time that she writes about Warren Buffett. When Buffett and Loomis went on a tour of the media to promote “Tap Dancing to Work,” her collection of Fortune stories about Buffett in 2012, she let the Oracle of Omaha handle most of the talking during the interviews.
But her close connection to Buffett has brought her media attention throughout the years, and this is especially true when she became just one of three journalists entrusted with the task of asking Munger and Buffett the tough questions during Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholders meeting held in Omaha. As an example, Loomis said this year that she detected “very strange, un-Buffett like behavior” when he chose to abstain instead of vote against the Coca-Cola executives’ high dollar pay package. Buffett is a member of the Coca-Cola board of directors. As well, Loomis is one of the directors of the Susan Thompson Buffett foundation – unpaid – which is funded by Warren Buffett and named after his wife that passed on from this world, and has been operating since the 1980s. People have asked Loomis if she’s going to write a biography about Warren Buffett, but she has demurred and said that she wouldn’t make a good biographer since she is such a good friend of his. Fortune says that she will continue to write for the magazine, but not in the capacity as a staff writer. Loomis said in a farewell note to colleagues, “I loved my job from the start and have always considered myself supremely lucky to be here.… I’m going to feel my way in retirement – read a novel or two – how about that for something new? Play more bridge. Play more golf.”