General Category > Berkshire Hathaway

2020 annual letter

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longinvestor:
Itís that time of the year again.

What should we expect to see in it?

LC:
My guess:  a combination of explanations of the cash balance (including diatribe about high valuations); performance of the stock portfolio (Apple); and a bunch of the regular feel-good history lessons.

scorpioncapital:
An explanation for a long stretch of underperformance with a plea to 'trust me'?

longinvestor:
I am hoping for some commentary on what Abel/ Jainís elevations will mean? How much capital do they get to deploy? T/T have 24 B , how much Abel/Jain? Who calls who to make lightning fast deals? Are they following the script of management by absentia?

I also would like to more color on board/insider ownership of Berkshire stock. Beyond statutory reporting. For example, we now know how much Jain owns, didnít before 2018. The only good estimate of this is in Cunninghamís book.

And more on the possibility of owning 25% of banks now?

And oh I would like to know the name of the next Chairman.

longterminvestor:
Next chairman is Howard Buffet.  Quote letter from Buffet on Berkshire "Past Present & Future":

"To further ensure continuation of our culture, I have suggested that my son, Howard, succeed me as a nonexecutive Chairman. My only reason for this wish is to make change easier if the wrong CEO should ever be employed and there occurs a need for the Chairman to move forcefully. I can assure you that this problem has a very low probability of arising at Berkshire Ė likely as low as at any public company. In my service on the boards of nineteen public companies, however, Iíve seen how hard it is to replace a mediocre CEO if that person is also Chairman. (The deed usually gets done, but almost always very late.)

If elected, Howard will receive no pay and will spend no time at the job other than that required of all directors. He will simply be a safety valve to whom any director can go if he or she has concerns about the CEO and wishes to learn if other directors are expressing doubts as well. Should multiple directors be apprehensive, Howardís chairmanship will allow the matter to be promptly and properly addressed."

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