Who will be Warren Buffett's successor?

11:13, December 25, 2009      

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America's largest cable television company Comcast's Chief Operating Officer (COO) Steve Burke was appointed by Warren Buffett as the youngest member of Berkshire Hathaway board, and he may become candidates for Warren Buffett's successor.

Comcast's Chief Operating Officer (COO) Steve Burke

According to Taiwan Economic Daily News quoted foreign reports, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett announced on December 22 hiring cable company Comcast COO Steve Burke as a Berkshire director. Media speculated that Burke is likely to get on even higher level and become Warren Buffett's successor.

Burke's father was an old friend of Buffett. Because Burke is young, and his career in the Comcast may have topped out, Buffett may be interested in passing his torch to his old friend's son.

After Burke joining the board, the directors of Berkshire Hathaway totals 12 people, almost all are seventy to eighty-year-old men, only 54-year-old Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and 51-year-old Burke are considered "young."

Burke played a key and important role in Comcast's recent acquisition of NBC Universal case. However, Comcast's present Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts is about the same age with him, and also Comcast founder Ralph Roberts's son, Burke is unlikely to scale new heights to replace Roberts' position.

This makes Burke's next step may be to become chief executive of Berkshire in the future. Buffett plans to split Berkshire Hathaway's chief executive officer into two positions.

Buffett said in May that the three candidates of chief executives are already in the Berkshire's services; and among the four candidates of chief investment officer, at least one is an outsider.

Steve Burke's father, Daniel Burke led Capital Cities acquisition of American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) which was four times the size of their own company in 1986 with financing from Buffett, merged into CapCities / ABC Broadcast Group, and Buffett have gained a 25% stake in the new company. Later, in 1996, Disney acquired CapCities / ABC. The deal becomes the most profitable case of Buffett in the 1990s and Daniel Burke has also become a close friend of Buffett.

Observers pointed out that Buffett's recruiting of directors is quite like his investment career, both will take a long time of observation. Warren Buffett should have been watching Steve Burke for a long time.

Steve Burke started in his family business Capital Cities, but after the company was sold to Disney he served as president of ABC department, leaving in 1998 to join Comcast.

In addition to Berkshire Hathaway, Steve Burke is now also serving as a director of JP Morgan Chase Bank. This may be a great help for him in the acquisition of NBC, because NBC's parent company GE is in cooperation with JP Morgan Chase Bank.

By People's Daily Online
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