In an interview with Fortune, Buffett said he had written a memo to
the Berkshire <BRKa.N> board to suggest the next CEO should be "the
only one who would receive options because he would be the only one
who is responsible for the overall success of the operation."
Buffett, an investing icon and the world's third-richest man, came
under fire last week when he said that he disagreed with a
controversial equity compensation package for Coca-Cola <KO.N>
management but nonetheless abstained from voting.
He told CNBC last week that he "didn't want to express any
disapproval of management but we did disapprove of the plan."
He's since drawn broad criticism for not voting against the measure,
Buffett in the past has spoken out about stock options for
executives as expensive and ineffective.
In 1995, for example, Buffett wrote: "Who, after all, refuses a free
lottery ticket?" and called such arrangements "wasteful to the
Still, Buffett said on Monday that executive compensation is not out
of whack with pay rates in the rest of the country.
"If you run a multibillion-dollar company the difference between a
10 and an eight is huge in terms of value," he said.
"Still, almost on a voluntary basis, I think it should be somewhat
restrained in some cases."
[to top of second column]
He offered no more details on who the next Berkshire Hathaway CEO
could be, a source of widespread speculation as investors wonder how
much longer the octogenarian can continue in his current role.
Buffett, 83 and Charlie Munger, 90, the chairman and
vice-chairman, respectively, of Berkshire Hathaway, have each drawn
a salary of $100,000 each for more than 25 years.
In a securities filing this year, the company noted that "Mr.
Buffett has advised the (Governance) Committee that he would not
expect or desire such compensation to increase in the future."
Buffett's fortune is estimated at $65 billion by Forbes magazine.
(Reporting by Luciana Lopez; additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel;
editing by Andrew Hay and Sandra Maler)
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