Warren Buffett on Bekshire’s Succession Plan

By May 3, 2013, 5:13 AM Author's Blog  

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) (BRK.B) CEO Warren Buffett spoke with FOX Business Network’s Liz Claman live from Omaha, NE on the eve of the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder Conference. Buffett discussed Bekshire’s succession plan and who might replace him and said, “I’ve used the pronoun he and it’s a he – he will be very good. Maybe 10 years or 15 years from now it will be a she. I hope it is.” Buffett also discussed sending his first tweet today, saying, “They gave me something and they said push here. That was the limit of my capabilities.” When discussing the recent drop in gold prices, Buffett reinstated, “I am not a buyer of gold” even “if gold went to $1000 I still wouldn’t be a buyer. If it went to $800 I wouldn’t be a buyer.” Excerpts from the interview can be found below, courtesy of Fox Business Networks.

On his succession plan:
“I would point out we have investments totaling almost $50 billion in 4 companies, IBM, Coca Cola, Wells Fargo…I don’t know who’s going to succeed the present CEOs there and in every case, each one of the four they have changed CEOs since we started buying the stock in certain cases more than once. I never knew who they were going to be, I knew they’d pick good people. And there’s no one more concerned about the successor than I and we spend more time at the board meeting talking about that, if something happens to me tonight if I pick up 13 spades and my heart gives out the board tomorrow morning will have somebody and – I’ve used the pronoun he and it’s a he – he will be very good. Maybe 10 years or 15 years from now it will be a she. I hope it is.”

On how he made his first tweet:
“They gave me something and they said push here. That was the limit of my capabilities.”

On Moody’s (MCO) downgrading Slovenia to junk:
“We own a few less [shares of Moody’s] than the other day … we’ll see more surprises but it really doesn’t make any difference. I am not going to sell my farm that I own or my apartment house I own because of some news that happens next week or next month.”

On whether he’d invest in gold:
“No, gold is not reproduced or anything since I wrote about it in a year or two ago. It just sits there and you hope somebody pays you more for it. If gold went to $1000 I still wouldn’t be a buyer. If it went to $800 I wouldn’t be a buyer. It’s never really interested me…I am not a buyer of gold or silver.”

On whether he thinks America is doing something wrong because of the poor jobs numbers:
“You can always say there may be something we can do better but this country has been doing pretty darn well. what we went through in 2008 was something like I’d never seen. A lot of things that were a whole lot worse than what happened could have happened if we handled things wrong. I give credit to Bernanke, and Hank Paulson, George Bush, Barack Obama and Tim Geithner. Overall they did some very gutty things, they did some very right things and anybody can look back and second guess it but this country went through a shock like I’ve never seen and it’s functioning pretty darn well now.”

On whether the snow in Omaha will affect the number of shareholders who are attending the investor conference this weekend:
“I wouldn’t think it would affect it. I expect a record but we never really know for sure because they come and leave, back and forth. But we’ve got more tickets sent out, everything indicates we’ll have a record.”

On what vulnerabilities he sees in the US markets:
“I don’t think the US is terribly vulnerable. The recovery is a lot slower than people would like but it is a recovery, it’s a constant recovery. You can say Europe has got plenty of problems.”

On whether investors should worry about another situation like Cyprus happening:
“I think investors should own businesses they want to own for 5 or 10 years and they shouldn’t worry about Cyprus or Europe or anything else as long as they are happy with the business they own.”

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