Warren Buffett's Trusted Associate Charlie Munger Dies at 99: What's Next for Berkshire Hathaway?

By Jace Dela Cruz

Nov 29, 2023 12:49 AM EST

Investing icon Charlie Munger, who served as vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate controlled by Warren Buffett, has passed away at the age of 99. 

The announcement came from Berkshire Hathaway, saying that Munger died peacefully in a California hospital on Tuesday morning.

Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, expressed his sentiments on Munger's passing, acknowledging the significant role that Munger played in the success and growth of the conglomerate.

"Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Charlie's inspiration, wisdom, and participation," he said in a statement.

(Photo : JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)
Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Charlie Munger attends the annual Berkshire shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, May 3, 2019.

After Charlie Munger's Death, What's Next for Berkshire Hathaway?

Charlie Munger is also known as Warren Buffett's right-hand man. He served as Buffett's second-in-command for years. According to the Associated Press, Munger helped the 93-year-old billionaire build Berkshire Hathaway into an investment powerhouse.

With Munger's demise, attention turns to the future leadership of Berkshire Hathaway. Business Insider reported that in 2021, Buffett had already named Greg Abel, the 61-year-old vice chairman of non-insurance operations at Berkshire, as his successor. 

Abel, a Canadian businessman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, has been a respected figure within the company. Buffett said in 2006 that he once hoped Munger would take over the conglomerate.

However, he later admitted that a younger person was needed to lead the billion-dollar business into the future. Munger had also expressed confidence in Abel's ability to maintain the cultural and operational aspects that contributed to Berkshire's success.

Buffett's choice of Abel as his successor was seen as a strategic move to ensure continuity and stability in the business as Berkshire faces challenges such as inflation and high interest rates.

READ NEXT: Warren Buffett Donates a Whooping $870 Million in Berkshire Hathaway Stock to 4 Charities Before Thanksgiving

Future of Warren Buffett

Over Thanksgiving, Warren Buffett cited the future of Berkshire Hathaway and his legacy in a press release timed to donating over $870 million in Berkshire Hathaway stock to four family foundations.

Buffett reiterated his confidence in Abel and the board of directors, saying they were the right choices to lead Berkshire into the future. He also emphasized Berkshire's advantage "that it has been built to last."

While Buffett's significant stake in the company is expected to contribute to maintaining its legacy after he passed away, he acknowledged that Berkshire will ultimately earn the reputation it deserves.

As Berkshire mourns the loss of Charlie Munger, the focus now shifts to how Greg Abel will navigate the company's future and uphold the principles and strategies that have defined Berkshire Hathaway's success over the years. 

READ MORE: Buffet Breaks Own Record at Giving Gifts

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