Mumbai: It seems America’s master investor Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway Inc does not need to launch a massive hunt for his successor at the multinational conglomerate holding company. Hathaway has invested in many US corporate giants. The list includes American Express, Coca Cola Company, Wells Fargo, IBM and Apple Inc.
Ajit Jain, India born Harvard Business School graduate, has been one of the top two contenders for the corner office job at the Hathaway that has investments across major American companies. Greg Abel, chief executive of Berkshire’s energy division, is another probable successor of Buffet.
Jain’s elevation at Hathaway will add one more name to the list of Indian origin CEOs at the helm of top American firms.
Jain was born and brought up in eastern Indian coastal state of Orissa, now Odisha. He is a stout follower of his religion, Jainism, a practice that makes him strict vegetarian. Jain is older cousin of Anshu Jain, former Co-CEO of Deutsche Bank. An IIT-Kharagpur pass out, Jain’s net worth stands at $2 billion.
Buffet, known as Oracle of Omaha, never stops showering words of praise on Jain who has turned around Hathaway’s insurance business after joining the company in the early 1980s.
At the last annual general meeting of Hathaway held in February this year in Omaha in Nebraska, Buffet had told investors no one brought more money to the company as shareholder than Jain.
In Buffet’s words, Jain turned around Hathaway’s insurance businesses since he came on board in 1985. “Ajit has created tens of billions of value for Berkshire shareholders,” Buffett once told his shareholders in a letter. “If there were ever to be another Ajit and you could swap me for him, don’t hesitate,” he added.
From 1985, Jain created an insurance behemoth out of a marginal arm and took insurance ‘float’ up to $37 billion and also brought in a large cumulative underwriting profit. No other insurance CEO has come close to matching such an achievement, Buffet had said back then.
Buffet is world’s second richest person with a total personal wealth of $76.7 billion, after Bill Gates who continues to remain at number one position with personal wealth of $85.3 billion. Buffet even went on to say that both, Jain and Abel, were much more CEO material than himself.