Buffett’s heir stands down

Marion Dakers
WARREN BUFFETT’S heir apparent has resigned after buying shares in a company he then repeatedly pushed Buffett to acquire, the billionaire investor announced yesterday.

David Sokol had twice previously tried to quit his role at Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway over the same issue, the Sage of Omaha said in a letter to shareholders, but could not be persuaded to stay this time.

Sokol held shares in Lubrizol last December when he flagged up the company with Buffett.

Buffett said he was originally not in favour of the idea but warmed to it after Sokol told him of a conversation with Lubrizol’s chief executive. Berkshire ultimately announced its purchase of Lubrizol for $9bn (£5.6bn) or $135 per share, a 28 per cent premium, on 14 March.

“Neither Dave nor I feel his Lubrizol purchases were in any way unlawful. He has told me that they were not a factor in his decision to resign,” said Buffett. “Dave’s letter was a total surprise to me, despite the two earlier resignation talks.”

“Sokol will be missed, but the bench is pretty deep. There have been three to four candidates mentioned as people who can replace Buffett as a chief executive,” said Jerry Bruni of fund manager JV Bruni & Co last night.