Great candidates to replace Warren Buffett as CIO of Berkshire Hathaway, according to executive recruiters, are: endowment manager David Swenson; pension fund executive Mark Anson; long-only value managers Bill Miller, Mason Hawkins and Robert G. Hagstrom Jr.; and hedge fund managers Bruce Karsh, Steve Mendel and Eddie Lampert.
In his annual investor letter released March 1, Berkshire Hathaways chairman, CEO and CIO announced the company is looking for one or more candidates to take over investment duties when the need arises. It wont be an easy gig the company is looking for someone genetically programmed to recognize and avoid serious risks, including those never before encountered, Mr. Buffett wrote.
Recruiters said any candidate for a CIO job at Berkshire Hathaway must have a resume that includes extensive investment management experience, an intuitive, value-oriented investment talent, a very long-term viewpoint and a complete lack of ego. Recruiter Joseph B. Goldsmith, managing partner at Prince Goldsmith, emphasized that likely candidates will come from asset management companies.
These are the toughest shoes to fill, ever, said recruiter David Barrett, managing partner at David Barrett Partners. How do you replicate what Warren Buffett has done? Besides being a brilliant investor, your ego has to be totally checked in at the door. I would say there are only four or five people in the world like this.
Good places to look for potential candidates include long-term, value-oriented investment management companies, private equity managers and activist-minded investors with strong valuation skills and patience, said recruiter Deb Brown, managing director at Russell Reynolds.
Marc D. Hamburg, a spokesman for Berkshire Hathaway, did not return a call seeking information about the status of the search. Berkshire Hathaways holdings totaled $86 billion and it had $7 billion in pension assets, according to its 2006 annual report.