Greg Abel to to lead Berkshire ‘if something were to happen’ to Buffett

Vice Chairman Greg Abel will succeed billionaire Warren Buffett as Berkshire Hathaway CEO, according to a report.

Buffett confirmed the succession plan Monday to CNBC after Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger let slip the plan during during the company’s annual meeting on Saturday. Buffett did not immediately respond Monday to questions from The Associated Press about the plan.

The 90-year-old Buffett told CNBC that if anything happened to him, Abel would be the one to take the top post. He also said that Vice Chairman Ajit Jain would succeed Abel, who currently oversees all of Berkshire’s non-insurance companies while Jain oversees Geico and all of Berkshire’s other insurance units.

“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. He praised Abel and Vice Chairman Ajit Jain, who runs all of Berkshire’s insurance operations.

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.

Munger responded: “But we do, and Greg will keep the culture.”

Buffett has said he has no plans to retire.

Berkshire has long planned to split Buffett’s job into three parts when he is gone: a CEO to oversee capital allocation and Berkshire’s operations, investment managers to handle Berkshire’s stock portfolio and a separate board chairman.

In the past, Buffett has declined to name the next CEO except to say that one of Berkshire’s managers would take the job, but Abel was seen as a likely candidate.

Buffett has named two investment managers who already help manage the portfolio and said that his oldest son, Howard Buffett, who already serves on Berkshire’s board, is likely to become the company’s next chairman.

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