Warren Buffett still hasn’t discussed his succession plan for Berkshire Hathaway. But he did go out of his way in his latest annual shareholder letter to tout the virtues of two of his top executives.
In his letter, the 88-year-old Buffett discussed management changes he initiated in early 2018. He said that Ajit Jain had been moved to the head of Berkshire’s “insurance activities,” including Geico and related businesses, and Greg Abel had been “given authority over all other operations.”
While the move might mean little in a traditional corporate context, Jain and Abel are viewed as logical successors to the Berkshire Hathaway chief when he retires. And Buffett’s decision to move them into more important roles at the company seems to support that.
“Berkshire is now far better managed than when I alone was supervising operations,” Buffett wrote. “Ajit and Greg have rare talents, and Berkshire blood flows through their veins.”
Still, Buffett stopped short of actually saying whether Jain, Abel, or both, will replace him when he’s done. And at least for now, shareholders are once again left with no real insight into Berkshire’s succession plan and what might come of the company when he retires.
Instead, Buffett ended his letter discussing his and vice chairman Charlie Munger’s lives. And once again, he took the opportunity to tout his executives and allay fears of his eventual departure.
“For 54 years, Charlie and I have loved our jobs. Daily, we do what we find interesting, working with people we like and trust,” he wrote. “And now our new management structure has made our lives even more enjoyable. With the whole ensemble—that is, with Ajit and Greg running operations, a great collection of businesses, a Niagara of cash-generation, a cadre of talented managers and a rock-solid culture—your company is in good shape for whatever the future brings.”