(Reuters) – Warren Buffett ended long-standing speculation about his successor at Berkshire Hathaway Inc. by saying that Greg Abel, who oversees the conglomerate's non-insurance business, would be appointed CEO if he resigned.
Mr. Buffett told CNBC that "the directors agree that if anything were to happen to me tonight, it would be Greg who would take over tomorrow morning."
The 90-year-old Mr. Buffett has never publicly signaled anyone planning to resign. Abel has been vice president of Berkshire since 2018, after a decade of building its Berkshire Hathaway Energy unit into a major US power supplier.
Berkshire did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The announcement is currently ending speculation. which began in 2006 when Buffett, then 75, first discussed his plans for inheritance in his annual letter to Berkshire shareholders. He has run Berkshire since 1
Mr. Buffett also told CNBC that if anything happened to Abel, the CEO job would go to Ajit Jain, who oversees Berkshire's insurance business but is about a decade older.
"The likelihood of someone having a 20-year runway, however, makes a real difference," Buffett said.
Mr. Buffett's announcement does not change other aspects of Berkshire's succession plans.
His son Howard is expected to become non-chairman while one or both of his chief investment officers, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, remain in line to become chief investment officer.  While Mr Abel lacks Mr Buffett's magnetism and prominence, he won Mr Buffett's confidence in his commitment to Berkshire's culture, long – term thinking and ability to spend money wisely.
"He is a first-class man," Buffett said in a 2013 video release. "There are a lot of smart people in this world, but some of them do some very stupid things. He's a smart guy who will never do a stupid thing." employees, such as Berkshire Hathaway Energy, BNSF Railway, Dairy Queen Ice Cream and See & # 39; s Candies, Fruit of the Loom Underwear, and several industrial parts companies.
Mr. Abel was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, where he became a lifelong hockey fan, graduating from the University of Alberta in 1984.
Educated in accounting, joined PricewaterhouseCoopers and later went to work for the geothermal company CalEnergy, joining Berkshire Hathaway Energy in 1992, when the company was well known as MidAmerican Energy.