Editors' Pick: Originally published March 23.
Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.B) - Get Report Warren Buffett just gave a big vote of confidence to Ford Motor (F) - Get Report CEO Mark Fields. In turns out that Buffett is a fan of Fields. And Fields holds Buffett in high regard.
At the New York International Auto Show this week, I asked Fields which CEO at a publicly traded company does he most admire? Fields' answer was the Oracle of Omaha, Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett.
"He's known for his investment savvy," explained Fields. "But the way he runs Berkshire Hathaway is quite interesting, giving his business leaders the autonomy to grow their businesses but also holding them accountable."
In his annual letter to shareholders this year, Buffett wrote "every day Berkshire managers are thinking about how they can better compete in an always-changing world."
Buffett is quick to commend Berkshire's managers, often signaling out a few during Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting each spring. So I decided to find out if Buffett felt the same way about Fields, who has earned praise and admiration for his leadership at Ford. I contacted Buffett and passed along Field's comments.
Buffett is a busy man of course, between running a giant conglomerate and searching for companies to buy. But Buffett responded almost immediately.
"I'm flattered," Buffett wrote in an email. "Especially because the appraisal came from Mark who is doing an outstanding job in running Ford."
Whoa! Nice compliment! And it's probably a bit more meaningful considering that shares of Ford have lost ground in the past year, as have shares of its competitors GM (GM) - Get Report and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) - Get Report .
Of the 15 common stock investments held by Berkshire Hathaway with the largest market value, none are in the auto sector. But who knows? Maybe one day they will be.
For now, these two executives may be content just being part of the same mutual admiration society. Personally, I think they should get together for a few laughs, because they both share a good sense of humor.
For example, when I reached out to Buffett to let him know what Fields thought of him, he also wrote this: "Are you sure he didn't say that Warren is the best CEO in the 85 and older age bracket?" The answer to that -- of course -- is no!