The biggest hint about the future CEO of Berkshire Hathaway was recently dropped and the future of the company is either going to be in the hands of Greg Abel, current energy boss or Ajit Jain, the head of reinsurance. The founders of the company, Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett, feel that the company is ready to move forward without them into the future, obviously when the timing is right.
Charlie Munger, Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, and chairman and CEO Warren Buffett both wrote separate letters to shareholders and defended the sprawling structure of the company and argued that it should definitely stay in place once they are gone. Buffett did not name a successor, but Munger said that either Abel or Jain would be excellent replacements.
Ajit Jain, born in India, receives credit for building the massive reinsurance business at Berkshire Hathaway from scratch. On the other hand, the Canadian born Greg Abel became a member of Berkshire Hathaway in 2000 when they purchased a utility company. Since that time he has helped turn the energy supplier into a large organization that serves 11 million customers across the globe.
While celebrating 50 years under the control of Warren Buffett and Charles Munger, respectively 84 years old and 91 years old, Berkshire Hathaway released two letters from both of these individuals. They tell us that the fourth-quarter earnings at Berkshire Hathaway have dropped by 17% to $4.16 billion, but total profits rose by 2% to $19.9 billion.
The Vice Chairman Charlie Munger, who does not normally write a shareholder letter, provided the most guidance as far as who could potentially be the next leader of the company. Munger said that the company would remain better than normal even if Warren Buffett were to leave tomorrow and also said that if the successors were only moderately able to handle it, they would never purchase another large business again.