The talk of succession for Warren Buffett is likely to take on some new discussion today, even if there is no timeline set. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A)(NYSE: BRK-B) has announced the hire of a new portfolio manager. The company said in the release that it announced a search for up to three investment professionals all the back in 2007.
The investment professional additions will be to manage a portion of the equity portfolios of Berkshire’s insurance subsidiaries. Todd Combs came to the company in 2010 as the first new investment manager. The newest to join is Ted Weschler, a man who is of Charlottesville, Virginia and is 50 years old. Weschler has told his limited partners that he will be winding up his fund in order to join Berkshire early in 2012.
If you look at Berkshire Hathaway’s release, these two investment managers will each have responsibility for a segment of Berkshire’s present equity holdings. What was noted though is that Buffett remains in place… “Warren Buffett, Berkshire’s Chairman, will continue, however, to manage most of the funds until his retirement…. After Mr. Buffett no longer serves as CEO, Todd and Ted – possibly aided by one additional manager – will have responsibility for the entire equity and debt portfolio of Berkshire, subject to overall direction by the then-CEO and Board of Directors. With Todd and Ted on board, Berkshire is well-positioned for successor investment management at the time Mr. Buffett is no longer CEO.”
No timeline was given on any Buffett departure. Still, the new portfolio manager move has already changed some of the components that the company is seeking to invest in. We already saw that.
As far as Weschler’s background, BusinessWeek shows a background being from Peninsula Capital Advisors, LLC as the founder and managing partner. It was also noted that he has been on the board of directors of First Avenue Networks Inc. since December 2001. Other positions held: served on the board of WSFS Financial Corp. and WSFS Bank since September 2009; serves a director of Virginia National Bank; served as a director of Wireless Cable of Atlanta Inc. It was also noted that he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics with concentrations in Finance and Accounting from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.
Weschler was recently a winner of Buffett’s charity auction for his luncheon that supports the Glide Foundation.
JON C. OGG