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Warren Buffett Hires Hedge Fund Manager Todd Combs, Says Could Be Successor

Source: NY Times

Posted on 26 Oct 2010

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Warren E. Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway said on Monday that 39-year-old new hire Todd Combs would over see a big chuck of the company's investment portfolio and that he could be the firm's next chief investment officer.

“He’s got the best chance of being the successor, but if we find the right guy or gal, we’d take that person, too,” he said, adding that the matter hasn’t been decided.

Mr. Buffett also told The New York Times that Li Lu, a Chinese hedge fund manager considered one of the other top candidates, has decided to stay in his fund.

Lest anyone get carried away, however, the billionaire emphasized that as important as a Berkshire chief investment officer will be — Mr. Buffett is considered one of the best stock pickers of all time — it’s not the most important position at the company. Berkshire’s chief executive, who would be in charge of operations and strategy, would be equally important, and the list of candidates for that role remains a topic of hot debate

Still, Mr. Buffett gave Mr. Combs, a former executive of Castle Point Capital Management, perhaps the highest praise he could give someone: He fits Berkshire’s culture.

“I know he’ll be good, but he’s the right type of guy,” Mr. Buffett said. “We don’t want someone who’s trying to figure out if they can make $100 million with us, or $200 million with the next guy.”