• Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

Warren Buffett to Host Berkshire Shareholder Meeting: What to Watch

Warren Buffett to Host Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Meeting with Succession in Focus


 

Warren BuffettWarren Buffett
Shareholders shop for items at the Pampered Chef display at the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder’s meeting on April 30, 2022 in Omaha, Neb. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Tomorrow (May 4), Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) will kick off its annual shareholder meeting in the investing conglomerate’s home base in Omaha, Neb. This year, Buffett will host the meeting without his right-hand man, Charlie Munger, who passed away late last year at the age of 99. Thousands of Berkshire shareholders will look for updates on  Buffett’s succession plan as well as his next big bet, as the company is also set to report first-quarter earnings tomorrow morning.

It will not be the first time Buffett leads the shareholder meeting by himself, though. He held Berkshire’s 2020 meeting—virtually due to Covid-19—without Munger and said, “It particularly doesn’t feel like an annual meeting because my partner of 60 years, Charlie Munger, is not sitting up here.”

Munger’s passing in November put Berkshire’s energy business chief Greg Abel and insurance chief Ajit Jain in the spotlight. In 2021, Munger revealed at that year’s shareholder meeting that Abel would succeed Buffett as CEO if anything happened to the CEO. “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 told CNBC subsequently. He added that, if for some reason Abel couldn’t do the job, Jain would step in as CEO.

Abel, 59, and Jain, 70, were promoted to vice chairmen of Berkshire Hathaway’s board in 2018 and have taken on a larger role in recent years. “Ajit and Greg have rare talents, and Berkshire blood flows through their veins,” Buffett wrote in his 2018 letter to shareholders. 

In April this year, Abel joined Buffett on his business trip to Japan, where he made large investments in the country’s top trading houses. Abel “does all the work, and I take the bows—it’s exactly what I wanted,” Buffett told CNBC at the time.

Another item in focus at tomorrow’s meeting will be Buffett’s next big bet, especially given Berkshire’s giant cash pile. At the end of 2023, Berkshire had a record $168 billion in cash. Shareholders are eager to know how Buffett plans to invest that money.

During the December quarter, Berkshire reduced its stake in Apple (its largest holding), Paramount Global and HP while increasing shares in Chevron, Occidental Petroleum and Sirius XM Holdings. Also late last year, Berkshire acquired a mystery stock that the company requested the SEC for permission to keep confidential. Shareholders may expect the company to share more details about that as well.

Warren Buffett to Host Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Meeting with Succession in Focus





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