Berkshire Hathaway Letter to Shareholders (February 23, 2019)
Although Warren Buffett did not reveal a succession plan in his 2018 Letter to Shareholders, he did make sure to mention and praise his top executives, which include KGP alumnus Ajit Jain ('72).
"I want to give you some good news--really good news--that is not reflected in our financial statements. It concerns the management changes we made in early 2018, when Ajit Jain was put in charge of all insurance activities and Greg Abel was given authority over all other operations. These moves were overdue. Berkshire is now far better managed than when I was alone supervising operations. Ajit and Greg have rare talents, and Berkshire blood flows through their veins."
Buffett went on to touch on the success of Berkshire Hathaway (BH) in 2018 and how things look in the future. Buffett reminds people to focus on the forest and forget the trees. By saying this he breaks down BH into five different "groves"--"Four of those groves are differentiated clusters of businesses and financial assets that are easy to understand. The fifth--our huge and diverse insurance operation--delivers great value to Berkshire in a less obvious manner..." Buffett follows up by saying "At Berkshire, the whole is greater--considerably greater--than the sum of the parts."
As the letter came to a close, Warren discussed the upcoming Berkshire 2019 meeting, held in Omaha on Saturday, May 4. He closed saying, "For 54 years, Charlie and I have loved our jobs. Daily, we do what we find interesting, working with people we like and trust. 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." (Read the entire 2018 Letter)