Buffett Announces Record Profits, Says He Has 4 Possible Successors

May 5, 2003

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. CEO Warren E. Buffett announced the Omaha, Neb., insurer would have first-quarter operating earnings of about $1.7 billion, which he described as “the best operating earnings we’ve ever had,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

Berkshire reported a profit of $916 million, or $598 per class A share, a year ago.

Buffett also announced to the annual shareholder gathering at Omaha Civic Auditorium that Berkshire had accumulated a float of $42.5 billion, up about $5.5 million from a year ago.

Buffett said Berkshire Hathaway has thrived mostly because of its insurance operations, which the Journal described as the company’s mainstay.

In addition to earnings news, Buffett said he has four potential successors who are currently with Berkshire Hathaway, according to Reuters. Buffett, 72, has said he plans to work until he is physically or mentally unable to continue, and wants someone under 60 take over the job.

He said the job would be split into two parts, with one person handling the business operations and another handling the company’s investment portfolio.

Reuters has reported that “people familiar with the company” have identified Ajit Jain, who runs a reinsurance unit; Lou Simpson, who looks after investments at car insurer Geico, and Rich Santulli, the chief executive of Berkshire company NetJets, as possible successors.

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