American multinational conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway on Wednesday promoted and added two of its senior executives – Gregory Abel and Ajit Jain (pictured above) – to its board, amid rising speculation about the potential successors to Warren Buffett as the company’s chief executive, Reuters reported.
Fifty-five-year-old Abel, the chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, will be the vice chairman of the non-insurance business. The 66-year-old Jain, who who is Berkshire’s top insurance executive, was named the vice chairman of the insurance business.
Buffett, 87, and Charles Munger, 94, will continue in their current positions as the chairman and vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. Analysts have considered Abel and Jain to be the top candidates to eventually succeed Buffett as the chief executive, though Abel is reportedly considered the favourite.
Buffett, in a TV interview said that the new roles of Abel and Jain were “part of the movement toward succession” at Berkshire. “They are the two key figures at Berkshire” and “have Berkshire in their blood,” he said.
“It is probably fair to say it’s not just the Warren and Charlie show any more,” said David Rolfe, who oversees assets at Wedgewood Partners Inc, whose largest holding is Berkshire Hathaway. “Today’s news codifies the importance of Greg Abel and Ajit Jain to not just their current businesses, but their future authority once Buffett relinquishes the CEO title.”
Who is Ajit Jain?
Jain was born in Odisha, where he also grew up. He studied mechanical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, and graduated in 1972, according to the Financial Express. He moved to the United States in the late 1970s, and did his MBA at Harvard University. Before joining Berkshire Hathaway in the early 1980s, he worked at Mckinsey & Co.