Edmonton-born Greg Abel picked as Warren Buffett’s successor as Berkshire Hathaway CEO

The Oracle of Omaha has named his successor, and the man he’s picked was born and raised in Edmonton.

Berkshire Hathaway vice-chairman Greg Abel will be the next CEO of the conglomerate after founder Warren Buffett is no longer in the job, the company revealed over the weekend.

Berkshire’s second in command, Charlie Munger, let it slip over the weekend that the plan was for Abel to be the next CEO. Buffett himself confirmed the plan in an interview on U.S. financial news channel CNBC on Monday.

During an exchange at the annual meeting about the importance of protecting Berkshire’s culture in the future, Buffett said Berkshire’s extremely decentralized operating model won’t work unless the company has the right culture.

The 96-year-old Munger responded: “But we do, and Greg will keep the culture.”

The 90-year-old Buffett told CNBC that if anything happened to him, Abel would be the one to take the top post. 

“The directors are in agreement that if something were to happen to me tonight, it would be Greg who’d take over tomorrow morning,” Buffett said to CNBC.

Abel was born in Edmonton, Alta., on June 1, 1962, which makes him 59 years old. He was educated at the University of Alberta with a degree in commerce, and he’s an accountant by training. He heads up the part of Berkshire’s business that isn’t insurance. 

The succession plan at Berkshire has always been a closely guarded secret, although the company has long said that it plans to split the Buffett rule into three: one person to handle capital allocation and Berkshire’s operations, investment managers to handle Berkshire’s stock portfolio, and a separate board chairman.

The second executive role will go to 69-year-old Ajit Jain, who heads up Geico and other insurance businesses.

Buffett’s eldest son, Howard Buffett, who already serves on Berkshire’s board, is likely to become the company’s next chairman.

More to come

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