According to people familiar with the matter, the removal of Joseph P. Brandon as CEO of General Re is part an effort to wrap up the government's investigation into the company.
The final decision to have Mr. Brandon step down is up to Berkshire Chairman Warren Buffett ultimately. Mr. Buffett declined to comment, and Mr. Brandon didn't respond to requests for comment by the WSJ. A spokeswoman for the Justice Department also declined to comment.
Ten years ago Berkshire bought reinsurer Gen Re, inheriting its management. Mr. Brandon has led General Re since 2001 and was chief financial officer before that. The unit generated more than $6 billion in revenue last year, representing about 5% of Berkshire's revenue.
Mr. Brandon's status at the company has been uncertain since 2005, when he received formal notice by federal securities regulators that they were looking into whether he violated securities laws.
Neither the SEC nor prosecutors have charged Mr. Brandon with any wrongdoing. He has cooperated with the government without seeking immunity from prosecution, according to two people familiar with the situation. Instead, the government charged and convicted four former General Re executives and a former executive at American International Group Inc., the insurance giant that had been General Re's biggest client.