Buffett Succession Gains Clarity as Berkshire Promotes Abel, Jain

Buffett Succession Gains Clarity as Berkshire Promotes Abel, Jain

Responding to an analyst report that predicted Buffett could run Berkshire for the next 10 years, the Oracle of Omaha said that sounds a bit long without getting anymore specific.

Berkshire Hathaway is promoting the two top candidates to eventually replace CEO Warren Buffett to its board, but the 87-year-old investor says he isn't leaving.

Addressing the timing of the move, Buffett said he's in "remarkably good health" considering his age. "They both have Berkshire in their blood".

The promotions are created to give the two men experience running more of the business. The 55-year-old Abel will be vice chair of noninsurance businesses and is now the chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

Jain, 66, will be vice chair of insurance operations and is now executive vice president at National Indemnity Company.

He later blamed "lethargy, bordering on sloth" for not making the announcements sooner.

Berkshire has more than 90 operating units including the BNSF railroad, Geico auto insurance, the Dairy Queen ice cream chain, Fruit of the Loom underwear, See's sweets, and a variety of industrial and chemical operations.

Buffett's eldest son, Howard, is expected to become Berkshire's non-executive chairman, to help preserve the company culture.

The firm and its subsidiaries employ more than 367,000 people globally.

Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger will retain their positions on the board.

Gregory E Abel and Ajit Jain were elected into the resulting vacancies and Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway's Chairman and CEO, appointed Abel to Vice Chairman - Non-Insurance Business Operations and Jain to Vice Chairman - Insurance Operations.

"Now if something happens, they're right there", Kilpatrick said.