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Berkshire Adds Potential Buffett Successor Candidates Abel And Jain To Board


Billionaire investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A, BRK.B) said Wednesday that its board of directors has voted to increase the number of directors to fourteen from twelve.

The company has appointed Gregory Abel and Ajit Jain to the board as vice chairmen to fill the resulting vacancies, in a move that indicates one of them will likely succeed Buffett.

Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway is a holding company with a number of operating subsidiaries like auto insurer Geico, reinsurer General Re, railroad BNSF, lubricant maker Lubrizol, energy utilities and a host of other manufacturing and retail companies.

Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway's Chairman and CEO, appointed Abel as vice chairman of the company's non-insurance business operations and Jain as vice chairman of its insurance operations.

Abel, 55, joined Berkshire Hathaway Energy Co. in 1992 and currently serves as its Chairman and CEO.

Jain, 66, joined the Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Group in 1986 and currently serves as Executive Vice President of National Indemnity Company, with overall responsibility for leading Berkshire's reinsurance operations.

87-year-old Buffett and 94-year-old Charles Munger, Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, will continue in their existing positions. They will be responsible for significant capital allocation decisions and investment activities.

Speculation has been rife in recent years as to who will succeed Buffett as head of Berkshire Hathaway, given Buffett's advanced age.

Buffett, arguably the greatest investor off all time, remains the oldest CEO to lead a Fortune 500 company. Buffett's name has become practically synonymous with value investing and his business exploits have earned him the nicknames "Wizard" and the "Oracle of Omaha".

In his annual letter to Berkshire shareholders in 2014, Buffett had said that he and Munger have already identified his successor and that Berkshire directors believe the future CEO should be chosen from internal candidates.

Jain was seen as the most likely to succeed Buffett for many years. However, of late, Abel has been talked of as the likely successor to Buffett due to his younger age.

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