From Soybean Farmer to CEO…?
I know far more about project management than I do about the stock market; and whatever I do know about bulls versus bears and price:earnings ratios was handed down directly to me from my father, brother, and of course – Warren Buffett.
Being a Buffett groupie at heart, I have made every attempt to know a little about the companies he owns, why he owns them and how they are performing. And since I have someone extremely capable helping me to decide whether to buy, sell or hold – I get the luxury of spending most of my time admiring Buffett’s persona rather than his pocketbook.
But therein lies the point – his persona has led to what’s in his pocketbook (and therefore the pocketbooks of his shareholders).
Just recently, Berkshire Hathaway (Buffet’s holding company) – announced amidst much speculation that the 81-year old’s eventual successor will be his son, Howie. Should not be shocking. You would expect the same from, let’s say the Trumps or any other prominent, wealthy, family business. But it just so happens that Howie is a corn and soybean farmer, who likely does not own a three-piece suit nor has had any reason to step foot into Berkshire’s Omaha headquarters recently. However, Buffett made his choice clear, stating that:
…His son will serve as a “guardian” of the company’s “values” rather than a CEO. ‘You worry that somebody will be in charge of Berkshire that uses it as their own sandbox in some way,’ ‘That changes the way that decisions are made in reference to the shareholders. The odds of that happening are very, very, very low, but having Howie there adds just one extra layer of protection.’ ~ Excerpted from an article by Clare O’Conner (Forbes Magazine)
Howie is very happy tilling to his corn and soybeans, I assure you, so this is not about nepotism nor climbing the Corporate Ladder. What it is, however, is a strategic and genius decision Buffett has made to assure shareholders that his legacy of values and principles will not die with him.
Anyone can run a business, not everyone can run a business as intelligently, authentically and with the respect of its stakeholders in mind as much as Buffett has.
If only the values of authenticity, sound judgement, fairness, and the readiness to admit and be led by what one knows and does not know were more prevalent. We would all enjoy a measure of success closer to what Buffett has.
Wishing You Success,
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