US pension fund giant CalPERS wants to oust Warren Buffett as chairman of Berkshire Hathaway

  • CalPERS plans to vote for a shareholder proposal to replace Buffett as President at Berkshire shareholders’ meeting.
  • Buffett would remain CEO under the influential pension fund’s proposal, which Berkshire opposes.

CalPERS, the largest public pension fund in the United States, said on Tuesday it would vote in favor of a shareholder proposal to replace Warren Buffett as Berkshire Hathaway‘s president.

The fund, whose full name is the California Public Employees Retirement System, said it would support the proposal in an SEC filing on Tuesday. It will be put to a vote at Berkshire’s annual meeting of shareholders on April 30.

The proposal, put forward by the National Legal and Policy Center, calls for Berkshire’s chairman to be independent. That would leave Buffett as CEO of the company.

“The CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. also serves as chairman of the board,” CalPERS said in the filing. “We believe that these roles – each with distinct and different responsibilities that are essential to the health of a successful business – are significantly reduced when held by a single head of the business, thereby weakening its governance structure. “

Billionaire investor Buffett has run the company he started since 1965, and he owns about 32% of the voting rights in the company and owns about 16% of the shares of Berkshire. The 91-year-old is known as the ‘Oracle of Omaha’ for being one of the most successful and followed value investors in the world.

Berkshire’s board of directors opposes the proposal and has recommended that shareholders do the same. The company expects his son, Howard Buffett, to serve as non-executive chairman after Buffett’s departure and current vice chairman Greg Abel as CEO, according to Reuters.

“The board of directors believes that as long as Mr. Buffett is CEO of Berkshire, he should continue as chairman of the board and as CEO of Berkshire,” the company said in a filing with the DRY. The company did not immediately respond to a request for insider comment.

Buffett highlighted the shareholder meeting in an interview with Charlie Rose, where he provided some fresh insight into his recent investing activity and defended his company’s recent bet on Activision Blizzard stock.

“It will be a very, very important meeting,” he said.

CalPERS, which said it has invested $2.3 billion in Berkshire stock, also said it would support proposals for the company to improve its reporting on environmental and diversity efforts. Berkshire is also against these proposals.

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Dolores W. Simon