Berkshire Hathaway shareholders have rejected a proposal that would have required annual updates on how the company is preparing to replace Warren Buffett.
The resolution submitted by the AFL-CIO attracted about 32,000 votes while 672,000 votes were cast against the idea.
The labor union's Ken Maas says the group didn't want Berkshire to publicly identify the 81-year-old Buffett's successor. It just wanted an annual update on the planning.
Buffett says he doesn't see any need to create a formal report on succession planning because he talks about it in his annual
letter to shareholders and in interviews. Plus, the subject
regularly comes up at the annual meetings.
Buffett says Berkshire's board spends more time on succession
planning than any other subject.
At Saturday's Berkshire Hathaway meeting Buffett joked about the
fame Debbie Bosanek gained because he says she pays a higher tax
rate than he does.
Buffett's secretary got to attend the State of the Union speech in January because of Buffett's complaints that tax laws are too easy on wealthy investors.
In a video skit, Bosanek started ignoring calls into the Berkshire office. That forced Buffett to start picking up the phone only to find that the callers wanted to reach Bosanek.
Oprah Winfrey, President Barack Obama and CNBC all wanted to
talk to Bosanek instead of Buffett. Obama even told Buffett that
his tax reform proposal might have a better chance of passing if it
were renamed the "Bosanek Rule" instead of the "Buffett Rule."
Buffett says some of the deals he's made for Berkshire Hathaway might not be available to his successor one day, but that person will still make deals.
Buffett said some of the deals he made during the financial crisis of 2008 might not be deals his successor could make because Goldman Sachs and General Electric both wanted his endorsement
along with Berkshire's money.
But Buffett says his successor will still be able to make big deals because Berkshire has nearly $40 billion cash on hand and is willing to invest large amounts quickly.
Buffett says deals like the Goldman and GE ones haven't been as
important to Berkshire as investing in Coca-Cola stock or buying
entire businesses such as Iscar metalworking and the Burlington
Northern Santa Fe railroad.