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
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Filling Buffett's Shoes at Berkshire Hathaway

And what kind of deals does Buffett pine for? He likes buying large, family-owned enterprises with long histories of predictable profitability achieved with very little additional capital infusion. Typical of the breed: Buffett bought Marmon Industries, a collection of 125 manufacturing and service companies, for $4.5 billion from Chicago's Pritzker family, in 2007.

Those kinds of deals need a gentle touch, a special perspective that's cultivated, honed -- not in the trenches, not in the conference room -- but through personal interaction, at Sun Valley and Aspen. The critical sit in those deals takes place in homes, not board rooms. To put it in pop-culture terms, you don't need Bob Sugar. You need Jerry Maguire.

Current Geico boss Tony Nicely doesn't have what it takes, either. He knows insurance. Burlington Northern CEO Matthew Rose knows trains and Lubizol head James Hambrick knows about industrial manufacturing, but neither have the temperament. Greg Abel comes close, but he, like Jain, is too valuable in his current role as the head of MidAmerican. And he makes more money there, too, which is not an incidental consideration.

The Envelope, Please ...

The right man for the job is Bryon Trott.

You might not have heard of him, but he's my odds-on favorite to run Berkshire after Buffett retires, which he has scheduled for "five years after [his] death."

I give Trott a three-in-four chance.

Trott, 53, is a Goldman Sachs (GS) alumnus -- former vice chairman, to be exact. Buffett's $5 billion investment in Goldman was at Trott's suggestion. He's worth a fortune, of course, and now runs a boutique investment shop in Chicago, catering to -- wait for it -- extremely wealthy families.

That's three votes in his favor: Buffett worships Goldman Sachs, they've done a deal together and Buffett loves family-owned businesses. He greatly respects the people who, like him, can put those deals together. That is the legacy he wants to leave at Berkshire. The rest of the company runs itself.

Another thing to like about Trott -- besides the fact that he is a well-connected, well-respected outsider, is that he's a major holder of Berkshire shares: 392 Class A shares as of his latest filing with the SEC. The shares were worth $45 million, about a third of his BDT Capital Partners' $115.1 million publicly disclosed portfolio.

2 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 16,943.81 +28.74 0.17%
S&P 500 1,967.57 +2.89 0.15%
NASDAQ 4,415.49 +19.2860 0.44%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto
Advertising Partners

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