Top exec Sokol resigns from Berkshire Hathaway

John Dimsdale Mar 31, 2011
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Top exec Sokol resigns from Berkshire Hathaway

John Dimsdale Mar 31, 2011
HTML EMBED:
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JEREMY HOBSON: Big news for one of the world’s most admired and successful companies. David Sokol — the man who was supposed to succeed legendary investor Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway — has resigned. That puts a big question mark over the future of the company.

Marketplace’s John Dimsdale reports.


JOHN DIMSDALE: David Sokol said he resigned to devote more time to philanthropy. But he was involved in a possible conflict of interest at Berkshire. Sokol bought personal shares in a chemical company — Lubrizol — and then recommended that Berkshire buy the company, without revealing his own stake in it. Buffet has said there was nothing unlawful about Sokol’s stock purchases. But it is at least an embarrassment for Berkshire, which has a reputation for transparency.

Howard Wheeldon with BGC Money Brokers in London says the company will have a difficult time finding another successor for its visionary founder.

HOWARD WHEELDON: David has been there for some considerable while know. He’s been seen by the rest of the world as the natural successor, so I think Warren Buffett’s got a bit of searching to do.

A bit of a search is one reason investors have been selling their shares in Berkshire since the announcement of Sokol’s departure. The Berkshire news comes as another aging corporate patriarch, Rupert Murdoch, moved his probable success, son James, into a newly created position as deputy chief operating officer of the media conglomerate, News Corp.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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