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Berkshire Beyond BuffettThe Enduring Value of Values$
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Lawrence Cunningham

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231170048

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231170048.001.0001

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(p.193) 14 Succession
Berkshire Beyond Buffett

Lawrence A. Cunningham

Columbia University Press

This chapter considers Berkshire’s future beyond Buffett, a question that has nagged the company’s constituents for two decades. The concern was that the fate of the man and the company he built were one. With Buffett’s demise went Berkshire. But Buffett has institutionalized Berkshire’s attitudes and practices so that it is poised to endure long after his departure. Buffett and the Berkshire board have formalized a succession plan. As updated in 2006, the plan prescribes splitting Buffett’s job in two: management (a chief executive officer) and investment (one or more investment officers). Berkshire’s succession plan also addresses ownership, as Buffett has been Berkshire’s controlling shareholder since 1965. Buffett most recently held 34 percent of Berkshire’s voting power and 21 percent of its economic interest, always representing 99 percent of his net worth. He has been slowly reducing his stake by planned annual transfers to charitable foundations, a process that will continue for many years after his death.

Keywords:   Berkshire Hathaway, business succession, corporate succession plan, Warren Buffett

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