This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Filling Buffett's Shoes at Berkshire Hathaway

The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.

By Andy Obermueller

NEW YORK ( StreetAuthority) -- Warren Buffett is back in the news, and not on the opinion pages about the so-called "Buffett Rule" that would subject high-income earners to additional taxation.

Buffett is on Page One because he has prostate cancer. It's Stage One, easily treatable and not life-threatening, The revered Oracle of Omaha says he not only feels great but will keep working his normal schedule, though his travel will be restricted later this summer as he undergoes radiation.

Warren Buffett

So, predictably, it's game-on for Buffett watchers, who are all over the airwaves speculating as to the palace intrigue and about how Ajit Jain clearly will be the next CEO. But Jain is too valuable as Lord Chancellor of Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A), (BRK.B) reinsurance business. He's no crown prince. A coronation would be a lovely accolade, surely, but Jain is far too effective, and far too happy, to be moved from his current role. Keeping talent in place is a longstanding Berkshire tradition.

Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

What's more, Berkshire's CEO candidate doesn't know that he or she has been chosen by the board as the leading contender, and there is nothing that happens at Berkshire that Jain isn't told about. Buffett talks to him every day. That also excludes Buffett's new stock pickers, Ted Weschler and Todd Combs, who took over running a portion of Berkshire's portfolio after longtime investment manager Lou Simpson retired from Geico in late 2010.

Every candidate being bandied about on financial TV is an operations guy. That's wrong. The chairman of Berkshire needs to be all about deal-making. After all, each Berkshire unit, from See's Candy to MidAmerican Energy, runs itself.

Buffett has long stated that excellent management is a prime requirement for Berkshire acquisitions, as it is the only thing that Berkshire cannot supply. Once companies are acquired, they are independent business units. Buffett has joked for years that he delegates to the point of abdication. He's not standing by the supply cabinet monitoring who takes Post-It notes. (I hear he has a well-paid secretary for that sort of thing.)

1 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,265.99 +109.14 0.64%
S&P 500 2,011.36 +9.79 0.49%
NASDAQ 4,593.4250 +31.2360 0.68%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs