This information has been around for years, even decades, but I think the media is aware of their potentially dwindling opportunity for Buffett interviews. Perhaps it was a really slow news week. Or maybe they're auditioning an Andy Rooney replacement.
Originally Posted by MooreBonds
I'm just curious on what his son's exact powers would be, and how the different roles would interact and be subordinate to the other positions on the board.
Also, while I certainly would hope that Buffet raised this son with great values, I wonder if his son would be able to follow the various financial methods, terms, scenarios and structuring that will come down the road with different deals? Not trying to badmouth his intelligence in any way, as there are some deals on Wall Street that sometimes only an expert with a PhD in computational finance can fully understand the implications of.
He can only effectively oversee what he understands and knows, and what the other board members/executives explain to him. Granted, I'm sure he would react after-the-fact if he found out that he was hoodwinked, but I hope he's able to be more proactive.
Originally Posted by clifp
Think of Howard as the guardian of the Berkshire's culture and Warren's ethics.
What ClifP said.
Here's some links from the Berkshire website:
At my death, the Buffett family will not be involved in managing the business but, as very substantial shareholders, will help in picking and overseeing the managers who do. Just who those managers will be, of course, depends on the date of my death. But I can anticipate what the management structure will be: Essentially my job will be split into two parts. One executive will become CEO and responsible for operations. The responsibility for investments will be given to one or more executives. If the acquisition of new
businesses is in prospect, these executives will cooperate in making the decisions needed, subject, of course, to board approval. We will continue to have an extraordinarily shareholder-minded board, one whose interests are solidly aligned with yours.
Howie won't be making deals. He'll be listening to the ideas that the smart CEOs, Ajit Jain, and Combs/Weschler bring to him. Then he'll try to decide if it's something that his dad would have wanted to do.
Here's another reference he can consult if his common sense deserts him:
And here's the details of the letters distributing his charitable contributions to the Gates Foundation and the foundations of his three children:
Letters from Warren E. Buffett Regarding Pledges to Make Gifts of Berkshire Stock
Note that Buffett has struggled over the years with his thoughts on how he'll "help" his family (not just his kids). He awarded his kids some shares of stock when they were young adults and he encouraged them to follow their interests. However he didn't really help raise them, let alone teach them what he does. (I don't think Buffett is very good at teaching what he does, although he's very glib about it.) He refused to bail out his sister when she traded her stocks into a liquidity crunch in the 1980s. He was very stingy with giving siblings or kids money for fear of inflicting affluenza, but in later years he loosened up with a "million bucks every five years" policy. Suzy kept the Buffett household running when they were together, but when she moved out then the entire place fell apart. Even the dog left.
Schroeder's biography highlights out how badly Buffett's been scarred by his mother's emotional abuse. It brings up lots of interesting speculation about his relationships with women (of all ages) and parenting. Essentially he can't help doing what he does, and he's paid a very heavy price for it-- one that's been partially inflicted on his siblings, spouses, and children.
But we still keep a quarter of our investment portfolio in Berkshire Hathaway, and we still take advantage of the speculation & hype by selling call options & put options on the shares.