Corner of Berkshire & Fairfax Message Board

General Category => Berkshire Hathaway => Topic started by: spark411 on September 17, 2018, 09:49:05 AM

Title: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: spark411 on September 17, 2018, 09:49:05 AM
It seems like Buffett's successor will be Bill Gates.   Here are some reasons:

1.  Bill Gates is coming on TV together with Buffett when speaking about Berkshire.   
2.  Bill Gates' foundation owns a big % of Berkshire shares (much of which comes from Buffett).
3.  Bill Gates is young.
4.  Bill Gates is a combination of Buffett and Munger.

Curious what other people think of this.
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: rolling on September 17, 2018, 10:08:13 AM
It seems like Buffett's successor will be Bill Gates.   Here are some reasons:

1.  Bill Gates is coming on TV together with Buffett when speaking about Berkshire.   
2.  Bill Gates' foundation owns a big % of Berkshire shares (much of which comes from Buffett).
3.  Bill Gates is young.
4.  Bill Gates is a combination of Buffett and Munger.

Curious what other people think of this.
They have already stated: Abel or Ajit.
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: nickenumbers on September 17, 2018, 10:11:10 AM
Why would Bill Gates want to perform the role?  What would his motivation be?

It is not adding to Bill's Wealth [he has enough], and it is not computers and software [some of his favorite subjects.].

I think Bill is a super guy, and he could totally do very well at the task, but I don't think running BRK on a week to week basis would motivate Bill.


Bill seems to be more interested in educating and advancing public health, emerging countries, etc.


My wild ass guess- I think Ajit Jain and Greg Abel [maybe with Todd and Ted] are going to be answering questions at the BRK annual SH meetings in the next 10 years.  Bill Gates will still be in the audience.


We are all in the land of the blind on this one, me included.
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: longlake95 on September 17, 2018, 10:23:40 AM
Probably as Chairman. Which I think is a good move.

Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: longinvestor on September 17, 2018, 10:36:21 AM
It seems like Buffett's successor will be Bill Gates.   Here are some reasons:

1.  Bill Gates is coming on TV together with Buffett when speaking about Berkshire.   
2.  Bill Gates' foundation owns a big % of Berkshire shares (much of which comes from Buffett).
3.  Bill Gates is young.
4.  Bill Gates is a combination of Buffett and Munger.

Curious what other people think of this.
They have already stated: Abel or Ajit.

They both are Vice Chairmen.

My speculation: Now and later. There will be a different Chairman & CEO whose only job will be to allocate capital. Abel and Jain will completely unburden the CEO from anything operational.
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: gfp on September 17, 2018, 10:41:20 AM
It's been communicated pretty clearly.  Howard Buffett as Non-executive Chairman (consider this a done deal).  Greg Abel as CEO, possibly with Ajit running insurance, Ajit available if something happens before Greg gets the job (Ajit doesn't want the CEO job, but would take it if he needed to).  Bill Gates as lead independent director.

Greg Abel as the next CEO of Berkshire, at least the non-insurance businesses is basically a done deal.

(by the way, obviously less good than Buffett in many many ways - but what a rockstar group (Howard excepted))
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: John Hjorth on September 17, 2018, 11:15:11 AM
My perception of what has been communicated is like globalfinancepartners. Because Mr. Jain is not totally physically well, the fill of the CEO position is a given as much as it can be.
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: Mephistopheles on September 17, 2018, 01:18:14 PM
John Hjorth, why is Ajit Jain not physically well?

Anyway, I don't think Gates will be CEO. He left MSFT so he can spend full time at the foundation so it wouldn't make much sense.

I also don't think it's Jain or Abel. Just because they're on the board doesn't mean they will be CEO.

As longinvestor stated, I too think it will be someone who won't have to deal with anything operational. Think about it, Buffett spends 0 time on operations and he's the greatest capital allocator ever. Why give someone the CEO job now who will have to spend x % of their time on operations and thus less than 100% on capital allocation?

Both Jain and Abel are experts in their respective industries, so why pull them away to run the rest of Berkshire. Better to give the gig to someone who does capital allocation for a living, someone like Ted and Todd.

-It's their full time job right now anyway.
-They have been involved in various acquisition roles (PCP for Todd, Detlev for Ted).
-They're young as opposed to Jain who is nearing 70

It preserves the current set up - the chief capital allocator on one side and the operations on the other side. It doesn't mix up the two. The capital allocator can spend all of his time reading. No need for dividing time or for a management shake up at BH Energy which is poised to spend like $100 billion on capex in the coming decade - better to have Greg Abel focus on that. Of course better to keep Ajit focused on his insurance expertise.

I also think it's easier to have the chief capital allocator be the chief investment officer so they can run all big investment opportunities through a single lens instead of having 2 parties compete for capital. Keeps things much smoother and is how Buffett operated all these years.

Abel and Jain are the 2 most powerful people at Berkshire next to Buffett, so it makes sense they get their place on the board to keep the new CEO(s) in check.

I've said this before. Am willing to bet a small $ amount with anyone that it will be Todd, Ted or a combination of the two.
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: John Hjorth on September 17, 2018, 02:44:52 PM
John Hjorth, why is Ajit Jain not physically well?

I don't know why. But I know that it would serve you well to read this (http://www.cornerofberkshireandfairfax.ca/forum/berkshire-hathaway/berkshire-hathaway-insurance-operations/msg318715/#msg318715).
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: spark411 on September 17, 2018, 02:52:53 PM
Sorry-I did not mean CEO.   I meant as Chairman.    Howard Buffett is non-executive Chairman, Bill Gates Chairman, and Greg Abel of Ajit Jain as CEO.

Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: gfp on September 17, 2018, 04:06:06 PM
Meph, I agree that Todd or Ted would probably be great choices, but I'll bet you $1.00 that Greg Abel is the next CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

(http://jarviscity.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/trading-places-bet-scene.jpg)




("Both Jain and Abel are experts in their respective industries, so why pull them away to run the rest of Berkshire." - already happened with Abel)
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: rkbabang on September 17, 2018, 05:26:07 PM
It seems like Buffett's successor will be Bill Gates.   Here are some reasons:

1.  Bill Gates is coming on TV together with Buffett when speaking about Berkshire.   
2.  Bill Gates' foundation owns a big % of Berkshire shares (much of which comes from Buffett).
3.  Bill Gates is young.
4.  Bill Gates is a combination of Buffett and Munger.

Curious what other people think of this.

#4 baffles me. Why woyld you say that?  Gates made a great, and sometimes ruthless, leader of a software company, but how is that anything like Buffett and Munger, or a combination of the two?
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: Nell-e on September 17, 2018, 05:37:44 PM
My observation is that once people reach a certain level of wealth, their attention turns to legacy.  I don't think Gates would want the job cause there's no upside for his legacy.

However, if his foundation is able to solve various world problems i.e. malaria, re-imagining education that would be do much more for his legacy.

Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: captkerosene on September 17, 2018, 05:59:24 PM
Did anyone else notice that WEB doesn't seem to be interested in Gates's opinions on investing in individual companies. Did he even ask Gates about Apple? I don't think so. On CNBC recently someone was asking WEB about Apple and WEB looked over at CM for an opinion on something. Gates was sitting right there and being ignored. Leads me to believe WEB might think of BG as a one trick pony.
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: Parsad on September 17, 2018, 06:01:44 PM
It seems like Buffett's successor will be Bill Gates.   Here are some reasons:

1.  Bill Gates is coming on TV together with Buffett when speaking about Berkshire.   
2.  Bill Gates' foundation owns a big % of Berkshire shares (much of which comes from Buffett).
3.  Bill Gates is young.
4.  Bill Gates is a combination of Buffett and Munger.

Curious what other people think of this.

#4 baffles me. Why woyld you say that?  Gates made a great, and sometimes ruthless, leader of a software company, but how is that anything like Buffett and Munger, or a combination of the two?

Buffett was far from a benign leader.  He could be ruthless when he needed to be...Sokol's firing, Salmon Brothers incident, the original takeover of Berkshire because he got screwed over on 1/8th of a dollar. 

I can't imagine a better Chairman than Gates.  Howard is a very nice fellow, but really I think shareholder's would be best served with Gates as non-executive Chairman.  Who else in the world would better understand how to maintain a moat through thick and thin? 

He became the richest person in the world when he was a little older than Zuckerberg, and remained so for most of the last 30 years once Sam Walton's wealth was split up and until all of the other tech wonderkinds took over the world.  In this type of environment he has not only endured, but survived and maintained his wealth, all the while creating the greatest philanthropic foundation in history, funded by his best friend who was often the 2nd richest man in the world over the same 30 years!  And he's still young enough to Chair Berkshire for another 30 years!  Cheers!
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: Parsad on September 17, 2018, 06:04:47 PM
Did anyone else notice that WEB doesn't seem to be interested in Gates's opinions on investing in individual companies. Did he even ask Gates about Apple? I don't think so. On CNBC recently someone was asking WEB about Apple and WEB looked over at CM for an opinion on something. Gates was sitting right there and being ignored. Leads me to believe WEB might think of BG as a one trick pony.

Are you kidding me!  Bill Gates has his hands in as many industries as Buffett through Cascade Investments.  Gates might have made his fortune in technology, but I suspect he'd be an extraordinary money manager.  I would certainly put him ahead of Li Lu!  And Munger is a huge fan of Li Lu's.  Cheers!
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: gfp on September 17, 2018, 08:12:19 PM
I agree Gates would be, and probably is, a great money manager.  But Michael Larson manages Cascade and is a great manager in his own right.  I have no idea what their arrangement is in terms of Larson getting full autonomy to make decisions but I have the impression Gates is primarily involved in the private stuff (VC investment, Four Seasons, etc) and Larson has full oversight of the public securities portfolio - in both the foundation and Cascade.

edit: more on Larson, who has a dream job for sure:
https://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/1999/03/15/256491/index.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Larson_(businessman)
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: Parsad on September 18, 2018, 12:16:48 AM
I agree Gates would be, and probably is, a great money manager.  But Michael Larson manages Cascade and is a great manager in his own right.  I have no idea what their arrangement is in terms of Larson getting full autonomy to make decisions but I have the impression Gates is primarily involved in the private stuff (VC investment, Four Seasons, etc) and Larson has full oversight of the public securities portfolio - in both the foundation and Cascade.

edit: more on Larson, who has a dream job for sure:
https://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/1999/03/15/256491/index.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Larson_(businessman)

Absolutely!  But Gates hired Larson, who has been doing the job for over 20 years now.  If you are looking for someone to put quality people in place, I think Bill Gates not only has the contacts, he has the same respect Buffett does in terms of people wanting to work for him.  That would make an ideal Chairman, especially since so much of Berkshire stock will be in the Gates Foundation...essentially, they will be the largest shareholder.  Cheers!
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: rkbabang on September 18, 2018, 05:53:22 AM
It seems like Buffett's successor will be Bill Gates.   Here are some reasons:

1.  Bill Gates is coming on TV together with Buffett when speaking about Berkshire.   
2.  Bill Gates' foundation owns a big % of Berkshire shares (much of which comes from Buffett).
3.  Bill Gates is young.
4.  Bill Gates is a combination of Buffett and Munger.

Curious what other people think of this.

#4 baffles me. Why woyld you say that?  Gates made a great, and sometimes ruthless, leader of a software company, but how is that anything like Buffett and Munger, or a combination of the two?

Buffett was far from a benign leader.  He could be ruthless when he needed to be...Sokol's firing, Salmon Brothers incident, the original takeover of Berkshire because he got screwed over on 1/8th of a dollar. 

I can't imagine a better Chairman than Gates.  Howard is a very nice fellow, but really I think shareholder's would be best served with Gates as non-executive Chairman.  Who else in the world would better understand how to maintain a moat through thick and thin? 

He became the richest person in the world when he was a little older than Zuckerberg, and remained so for most of the last 30 years once Sam Walton's wealth was split up and until all of the other tech wonderkinds took over the world.  In this type of environment he has not only endured, but survived and maintained his wealth, all the while creating the greatest philanthropic foundation in history, funded by his best friend who was often the 2nd richest man in the world over the same 30 years!  And he's still young enough to Chair Berkshire for another 30 years!  Cheers!

Chairman certainly, CEO no.  Berkshire is a different animal than Microsoft. Different skills and talents are needed.
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: captkerosene on September 24, 2018, 10:31:10 PM
I'm a believer that there can be only one person in charge. Buffett has never consulted the BOD regarding an acquisition as far as I know. The BRK BOD is mostly a ceremonial position. Gates is a great resource, but the CEO should be the COB.
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: Vish_ram on September 25, 2018, 07:18:54 AM
Buffett knows well that that the #1 job of a CEO is capital allocation. Gates has proved to be an excellent allocator in the technology area when he was in his prime. Gates pretty much dropped the ball on the growth and importance of internet.

My sincere hope is that Buffett does a better job than Welch in selecting a successor. Look at the carnage at GE. Even if Buffett picks someone who has 10% of his patience, acumen, temperament and business sense, then Berkshire will have  bright future.
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: John Hjorth on September 25, 2018, 07:41:37 AM
... Gates is a great resource, but the CEO should be the COB.

As Dane - English not being my mother tongue - I have to ask: What is "COB" an abbreviation for here? [I understand it here in this particular context as "the decision to make when the time is due for it - not even a second before that."]
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: cubsfan on September 25, 2018, 07:53:37 AM
COB - Chairman Of the Board

But I don't know what it is in Danish - ha!

Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: John Hjorth on September 25, 2018, 08:31:57 AM
Mike,

Got it now! [and a quite funny I simply coulden't figure that out, actually!] Thank you!, & back to topic.
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: Parsad on September 25, 2018, 10:34:14 PM
Buffett knows well that that the #1 job of a CEO is capital allocation. Gates has proved to be an excellent allocator in the technology area when he was in his prime. Gates pretty much dropped the ball on the growth and importance of internet.

My sincere hope is that Buffett does a better job than Welch in selecting a successor. Look at the carnage at GE. Even if Buffett picks someone who has 10% of his patience, acumen, temperament and business sense, then Berkshire will have  bright future.

Name one technology CEO from Gates era that got it perfectly right.  Also, he essentially stepped down in 2000, before the internet even really took off and essentially handed everything over to Ballmer to focus on extracurricular activities and his private wealth. 

Gates remains in the top five wealthiest people in the world by any measure, and pretty much in all calculations stands second to Bezos.  How badly did he really drop the ball!  Cheers!
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: rb on September 25, 2018, 11:18:41 PM
Buffett knows well that that the #1 job of a CEO is capital allocation. Gates has proved to be an excellent allocator in the technology area when he was in his prime. Gates pretty much dropped the ball on the growth and importance of internet.

My sincere hope is that Buffett does a better job than Welch in selecting a successor. Look at the carnage at GE. Even if Buffett picks someone who has 10% of his patience, acumen, temperament and business sense, then Berkshire will have  bright future.

Name one technology CEO from Gates era that got it perfectly right.  Also, he essentially stepped down in 2000, before the internet even really took off and essentially handed everything over to Ballmer to focus on extracurricular activities and his private wealth. 

Gates remains in the top five wealthiest people in the world by any measure, and pretty much in all calculations stands second to Bezos.  How badly did he really drop the ball!  Cheers!
Well maybe a lot of others didn't get it perfectly right. But someone seriously dropped the ball at Microsoft. I don't know I can't really tell if it's Gates, Balmer, or organizational inertia/incompetence.

Now, don't get me wrong, I like Microsoft, it's incredibly successful, I own a lot of it and made a lot of money owning it. But if you go back and read their ARs like way back, it is freakishly weird how well they called the future. About most things. Search, mobile, etc - not so much online shopping. So they had the insight. They had the vision. But they failed to execute - i.e. dropped the ball. If they did follow through and executed on their vision Microsoft would be worth at least 4 times what they are now. That's in excess of a trillion bucks. These are mind bending numbers to leave on the table. For a Microsoft shareholder that is tragic.
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: Parsad on September 25, 2018, 11:38:00 PM
Buffett knows well that that the #1 job of a CEO is capital allocation. Gates has proved to be an excellent allocator in the technology area when he was in his prime. Gates pretty much dropped the ball on the growth and importance of internet.

My sincere hope is that Buffett does a better job than Welch in selecting a successor. Look at the carnage at GE. Even if Buffett picks someone who has 10% of his patience, acumen, temperament and business sense, then Berkshire will have  bright future.

Name one technology CEO from Gates era that got it perfectly right.  Also, he essentially stepped down in 2000, before the internet even really took off and essentially handed everything over to Ballmer to focus on extracurricular activities and his private wealth. 

Gates remains in the top five wealthiest people in the world by any measure, and pretty much in all calculations stands second to Bezos.  How badly did he really drop the ball!  Cheers!
Well maybe a lot of others didn't get it perfectly right. But someone seriously dropped the ball at Microsoft. I don't know I can't really tell if it's Gates, Balmer, or organizational inertia/incompetence.

Now, don't get me wrong, I like Microsoft, it's incredibly successful, I own a lot of it and made a lot of money owning it. But if you go back and read their ARs like way back, it is freakishly weird how well they called the future. About most things. Search, mobile, etc - not so much online shopping. So they had the insight. They had the vision. But they failed to execute - i.e. dropped the ball. If they did follow through and executed on their vision Microsoft would be worth at least 4 times what they are now. That's in excess of a trillion bucks. These are mind bending numbers to leave on the table. For a Microsoft shareholder that is tragic.

I'm not talking about Microsoft.  I'm talking about Gates.  Charlie Munger sits on the board of Costco, knew Gates and Buffett, and still Costco will have a hard time in the future with Amazon.  Does that mean someone dropped the ball at Costco, or simply a better CEO came along with a better model? 

Great CEO's are often discarded because their companies failed to prosper relative to history, but even if they continued to prosper relative to industry, they are still relegated as mediocre leaders. 

Do people really think that a Berkshire run by Greg Abel, where insurance is run by Ajit Jain and the board by Bill Gates, isn't going to work?  Cheers!
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: rb on September 25, 2018, 11:58:41 PM
Buffett knows well that that the #1 job of a CEO is capital allocation. Gates has proved to be an excellent allocator in the technology area when he was in his prime. Gates pretty much dropped the ball on the growth and importance of internet.

My sincere hope is that Buffett does a better job than Welch in selecting a successor. Look at the carnage at GE. Even if Buffett picks someone who has 10% of his patience, acumen, temperament and business sense, then Berkshire will have  bright future.

Name one technology CEO from Gates era that got it perfectly right.  Also, he essentially stepped down in 2000, before the internet even really took off and essentially handed everything over to Ballmer to focus on extracurricular activities and his private wealth. 

Gates remains in the top five wealthiest people in the world by any measure, and pretty much in all calculations stands second to Bezos.  How badly did he really drop the ball!  Cheers!
Well maybe a lot of others didn't get it perfectly right. But someone seriously dropped the ball at Microsoft. I don't know I can't really tell if it's Gates, Balmer, or organizational inertia/incompetence.

Now, don't get me wrong, I like Microsoft, it's incredibly successful, I own a lot of it and made a lot of money owning it. But if you go back and read their ARs like way back, it is freakishly weird how well they called the future. About most things. Search, mobile, etc - not so much online shopping. So they had the insight. They had the vision. But they failed to execute - i.e. dropped the ball. If they did follow through and executed on their vision Microsoft would be worth at least 4 times what they are now. That's in excess of a trillion bucks. These are mind bending numbers to leave on the table. For a Microsoft shareholder that is tragic.

I'm not talking about Microsoft.  I'm talking about Gates.  Charlie Munger sits on the board of Costco, knew Gates and Buffett, and still Costco will have a hard time in the future with Amazon.  Does that mean someone dropped the ball at Costco, or simply a better CEO came along with a better model? 

Great CEO's are often discarded because their companies failed to prosper relative to history, but even if they continued to prosper relative to industry, they are still relegated as mediocre leaders. 

Do people really think that a Berkshire run by Greg Abel, where insurance is run by Ajit Jain and the board by Bill Gates, isn't going to work?  Cheers!
I'm not sure we're talking about the same thing. Sure, Gates is Gates, and Microsoft is Microsoft. They're both really successful. But when I'm talking about these insights Gates was maybe even CEO of Microsoft. Probably around the borderline. And I'm not talking here about someone else coming with a better model. They had the model! Almost to a tee! Then someone else did it. That's pretty infuriating from a shareholder's point of view.

Now one may say that Gates doesn't care about that, that he's made enough money and he's now focused on curing malaria and AIDS. Btw, I admire a lot what the Gates foundation has achieved and what it aims to achieve. But wouldn't they be in a stronger position to achieve goals if Gates had 150 billion instead of 50 billion? That's the Buffett philanthropic principle.
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: longinvestor on September 26, 2018, 07:04:46 AM
I canít see Buffett or the board handing the reins to a part timer. Gates is. And likely will be increasingly part time with increasing demand for the foundation dollar. Melinda likely will have the last word.

The most likely candidates are Todd or Ted; They have received mentoring for a decade already. Thereís no substitute for that. If itís one of them the board has to figure out how to keep the other in Omaha.
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: ERICOPOLY on September 26, 2018, 07:46:54 AM
Gates has proved to be an excellent allocator in the technology area when he was in his prime. Gates pretty much dropped the ball on the growth and importance of internet.

They saw the move to "browser based apps" and "software as a service" quite early on -- I had to sit through a lot of presentations.

I was with the Internet Explorer product team (I took my job in 1997) and Microsoft had a hard time designing it's products the way it wanted to without the government getting involved and threatening to split the company in two.

I feel as though the competitors utilized the government to distract Microsoft and their complaints were disingenuous.

Seriously, can you imagine an iPhone or Chromebook today shipping without a web browser already configured and ready to go?  That lawsuit was asinine. 

Microsoft was only behaving in a manner that made sense at the time and still makes sense today.  Just ask Apple and Google as their browsers are both the defaults configured on their systems today and they now have the dominant share (on the smartphones).


Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: Parsad on September 26, 2018, 12:08:01 PM
Buffett knows well that that the #1 job of a CEO is capital allocation. Gates has proved to be an excellent allocator in the technology area when he was in his prime. Gates pretty much dropped the ball on the growth and importance of internet.

My sincere hope is that Buffett does a better job than Welch in selecting a successor. Look at the carnage at GE. Even if Buffett picks someone who has 10% of his patience, acumen, temperament and business sense, then Berkshire will have  bright future.

Name one technology CEO from Gates era that got it perfectly right.  Also, he essentially stepped down in 2000, before the internet even really took off and essentially handed everything over to Ballmer to focus on extracurricular activities and his private wealth. 

Gates remains in the top five wealthiest people in the world by any measure, and pretty much in all calculations stands second to Bezos.  How badly did he really drop the ball!  Cheers!
Well maybe a lot of others didn't get it perfectly right. But someone seriously dropped the ball at Microsoft. I don't know I can't really tell if it's Gates, Balmer, or organizational inertia/incompetence.

Now, don't get me wrong, I like Microsoft, it's incredibly successful, I own a lot of it and made a lot of money owning it. But if you go back and read their ARs like way back, it is freakishly weird how well they called the future. About most things. Search, mobile, etc - not so much online shopping. So they had the insight. They had the vision. But they failed to execute - i.e. dropped the ball. If they did follow through and executed on their vision Microsoft would be worth at least 4 times what they are now. That's in excess of a trillion bucks. These are mind bending numbers to leave on the table. For a Microsoft shareholder that is tragic.

I'm not talking about Microsoft.  I'm talking about Gates.  Charlie Munger sits on the board of Costco, knew Gates and Buffett, and still Costco will have a hard time in the future with Amazon.  Does that mean someone dropped the ball at Costco, or simply a better CEO came along with a better model? 

Great CEO's are often discarded because their companies failed to prosper relative to history, but even if they continued to prosper relative to industry, they are still relegated as mediocre leaders. 

Do people really think that a Berkshire run by Greg Abel, where insurance is run by Ajit Jain and the board by Bill Gates, isn't going to work?  Cheers!
I'm not sure we're talking about the same thing. Sure, Gates is Gates, and Microsoft is Microsoft. They're both really successful. But when I'm talking about these insights Gates was maybe even CEO of Microsoft. Probably around the borderline. And I'm not talking here about someone else coming with a better model. They had the model! Almost to a tee! Then someone else did it. That's pretty infuriating from a shareholder's point of view.

Now one may say that Gates doesn't care about that, that he's made enough money and he's now focused on curing malaria and AIDS. Btw, I admire a lot what the Gates foundation has achieved and what it aims to achieve. But wouldn't they be in a stronger position to achieve goals if Gates had 150 billion instead of 50 billion? That's the Buffett philanthropic principle.

Gates left the CEO job in 2000.  He has nearly $100B and is right behind Bezos.  Now he's managed his wealth better than Buffett...does that make him a better CEO than Buffett?  Of course not.  Just like Gates isn't a worse CEO than Bezos, Zuckerberg or the Google co-founders.  These are some of the greatest leaders in modern business...we're splitting hairs when comparing them.  So it's ridiculous when people say that Gates missed the boat...Buffett missed Walmart and Apple.  Cheers!
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: captkerosene on September 26, 2018, 02:03:37 PM
I'd rather have Bezos than Gates as Chairman. (You don't know until you ask.)  Prem is currently out of favor but I think he'd do a good job too.
Title: Re: Buffett's successor - Bill Gates?
Post by: captkerosene on September 26, 2018, 08:28:36 PM
My absolute first choice would be Bruce Flatt for both CEO and COB. It would cost billions to get him but he'd make it back the first quarter. Think about it, he spends his time managing 80K people and allocating capital. Looks at hundreds of deals every year and has a record that just about equals WEB. Still in his early fifties and looks like he lives on lettuce sandwiches. Eight hour long CC today for BAM's annual investor day. Think about all they've done this year while WEB was snoozing.