Buffett 100% comfortable with Greg Abel as Berkshire CEO

Shareholders attend Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholders assembly in Omaha to get insights on enterprise, financial and funding matters from Warren Buffett and his longtime enterprise accomplice, Charlie Munger.

But this 12 months, attendees additionally angled to get a glimpse of one other Berkshire government: Greg Abel, the conglomerate’s vice-chairman for its non-insurance operations and Buffet’s designated successor as CEO. Shareholders and guests mobbed the Berkshire government for photographs and selfies as Abel walked the ground on Saturday. 

Succession questions are top-of-mind for Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholders, after the 92-year-old Buffett’s over-50-year tenure because the conglomerate’s CEO and chairman. 

Buffett informed AGM attendees on Saturday that he was “100% snug” with Abel as his CEO-in-waiting. Berkshire’s CEO mentioned the corporate was “fortunate” to have Abel, and would make selections “very a lot in the identical framework as I’d make them.” 

“Greg understands capital allocation in addition to I do,” Buffett mentioned. 

Abel too mentioned on Saturday that he would comply with the philosophy set down by each Buffett and Munger. “The framework has been laid out,” he mentioned. 

Who’s Greg Abel?

Berkshire Hathaway appointed Greg Abel as CEO of Berkshire-owned MidAmerican Power in 2008, and the division was later renamed Berkshire Hathaway Power in 2014.

Abel has been within the working for CEO of Berkshire Hathaway since 2018, when the corporate elevated him to the vice-chair place alongside fellow government Ajit Jain. 

The corporate publicly confirmed Abel as Buffett’s successor in 2021, when Munger let slip throughout that 12 months’s shareholders assembly that the chief would “maintain the tradition” of Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett confirmed later that day that Abel would “take over tomorrow morning” if something occurred to the Berkshire Hathaway CEO. 

Abel joined Buffett on his journey to Japan in April, the place the present CEO sang his praises. Abel “does all of the work, and I take the bows—it’s precisely what I wished,” Buffett informed CNBC on the time. 

“We expect alike on acquisitions. We expect alike on capital allocation,” he mentioned. “[Abel’s] an enormous enchancment on me.”

Berkshire Hathaway invested extra in power final 12 months, shopping for shares in oil and fuel corporations Occidental Petroleum and Chevron. But the corporate additionally plans $70 billion in the direction of renewable power tasks over the following decade, although Abel admitted Saturday that “it is going to be an extended journey” earlier than the conglomerate sees a “return on fairness.”

When will Abel take over as CEO?

There’s no indication that Buffett is stepping down any time quickly. Ronald Olson, certainly one of Berkshire Hathaway’s administrators, informed an funding convention on Thursday, earlier than the corporate’s annual assembly, {that a} transition continues to be “an excellent variety of years off,” based on Reuters.

“Don’t rely on Greg to take [Berkshire Hathaway] over tomorrow,” he mentioned, noting that Munger’s thoughts is “pretty much as good because it ever was,” as is Buffett’s. 

However Buffett was clear on Saturday that every time he decides to step down, Abel would take over the conglomerate. 

There’s no “second selection” for Berkshire CEO, Buffett mentioned on Saturday. “If one thing occurred to Greg, I’d inform the administrators they’ve an issue.”