1. Who is Ajit Jain? The Indian who may succeed Warren Buffett to head Berkshire Hathaway

Who is Ajit Jain? The Indian who may succeed Warren Buffett to head Berkshire Hathaway

Who is Ajit Jain? The Indian national who may succeed the Oracle of Omaha, maestro of Wall Street Warren Buffett to head Berkshire Hathaway. Warren Buffett, 87, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, seems to be on a lookout for a successor to head the multi-billion dollar conglomerate.

By: | Published: January 11, 2018 12:58 PM
Ajit Jain, 66, who was working as a top insurance executive with Berkshire Hathaway, was recently named vice-chairman for the insurance operations. (Image: Reuters)

The Oracle of Omaha, maestro of Wall Street, the greatest investment wizard of the century and of course chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett seems to be on a lookout for a successor to head the multi-billion dollar conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway. Warren Buffett, 87, is presently serving as the chairman and CEO while Charlie Munger, 94, is the vice-chairman of the world’s largest financial services company Berkshire Hathaway. In the latest development, Berkshire Hathaway Inc promoted two of its top executives Ajit Jain and Gregory Abel projecting them as the frontrunners to succeed Warren Edward Buffett.

Promotion of Ajit Jain and Gregory Abel

Ajit Jain, 66, who was working as a top insurance executive with Berkshire Hathaway, was named vice-chairman for the insurance operations while Gregory Abel, 55, who was serving as the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, was named vice chairman for non-insurance business operations. Now, with the addition of Ajit Jain and Gregory Abel Berkshire Hathaway board will grow to 14 members from 12.

Ajit Jain, vice-chairman at Berkshire Hathaway

Ajit Jain, an Indian by birth, joined Berkshire Hathaway in 1986. He looks after the reinsurance operations, shielding the businesses against the unusual risks and major disasters if any. Berkshire Hathaway insurance businesses employed roughly 44,000 people at the end of 2016, according to a Reuters report. “Still, insurance remains critical to Berkshire, recently contributing $113 billion of “float,” or premiums collected before claims are paid, for Berkshire to invest,” Reuters reported.

Ajit Jain’s journey from Orissa to Omaha

Ajit Jain was born and brought up in Orissa, India. Ajit Jain graduated in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Kharagpur which he completed in 1972. In the initial years of his career up until 1976, Ajit Jain worked as a salesman for IBM in India. Later in 1978, Ajit Jain moved to the United States, where he did MBA from Harvard University and joined Mckinsey & Co.

In the early 1980s, Ajit Jain left McKinsey & Co. to join Berkshire Hathaway. Ajit Jain is a modest person and is one of the favourites of Warren Buffett. About 7 years ago, Ajit Jain accompanied Warren Buffett on a tour of India where both the personalities interacted with college students in a chat show. Reportedly, Warren Buffett once said that Ajit Jain probably has made more money for Berkshire Hathaway than he has.

Buffett-Munger at Berkshire Hathaway

Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger have been working with Berkshire Hathaway for more than four decades. Both Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger will continue handling major investment decisions, including acquisitions, for Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway, though they have substantially reduced their responsibilities in recent years with their increasing age, Reuters said in a report.

Warren Buffett lifelong legacy

In an interview to CNBC, Warren Buffett said that Berkshire’s board, whose members include Microsoft Corporation co-founder, philanthropist and the second-richest person Bill Gates, can install a new CEO within a day when he steps down, dies or becomes incapacitated. Warren Buffett is the world’s third-richest person according to Forbes magazine, having a total net worth of $88.4 billion, according to Bloomberg’s billionaire index.

Berkshire Hathaway at NYSE

Berkshire Hathaway Class A shares rose 1.26% to finish at $3,08,350 while Class B shares went up 1.28% to settle at $205.61 on New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. Over the period of last one year, Class A and Class B shares of Berkshire Hathaway have risen about 27% each.

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