FRI, MAR 17, 2023
At 99, Munger is up for another year as Berkshire vice chairman
Berkshire Hathaway filed a proxy statement for its May 6 annual meeting today.
Charlie Munger is listed as one of 15 people nominated to serve on the company's board.
Assuming shareholders approve, (and it's easy to make that assumption), he will be going into his 46th year as vice chairman.
It would be much bigger news if he wasn't running again, and it's probably not a surprise that he is, given his usual feisty comments at the Daily Journal meeting a month ago today.
Still, he will be turning 100 on January 1, which almost certainly makes him the oldest director of an S&P 500 company.
Charlie Munger at the 2022 Berkshire Annual Meeting. (David A. Grogan | CNBC)
Also from the proxy statement:
The combined ages of the board nominees is 1055 years, with an average of 70.3 and median of 68. (In 2017, the Wall Street Journal calculated that the median age of S&P 500 directors was 63, up from 61 a decade before.)
The annual salary for both Buffett and Munger remained unchanged at $100,000 for 2022.
- The cost of Buffett's personal and home security, which is paid for by Berkshire and reported as part of his total compensation, increased by 10% from the year before to $301,589 in 2022.
Greg Abel, vice chairman of non-insurance operations, and Ajit Jain, vice chairman of insurance operations, both received an annual salary of $16 million and a $3 million "discretionary" bonus authorized by Buffett in 2022, unchanged from the year before.
In a disclosure mandated by federal law, Berkshire estimates the ratio of Buffett's total compensation to the median of the total compensation for all employees of Berkshire and its subsidiaries last year ($62,691) is 6.41-to-1.
(The AFL-CIO says the average for S&P 500 companies was 324-to-1. Only Take-Two Interactive Software has a lower ratio than Berkshire. It's 2-to-1, with the CEO getting a salary of $1 and close to $143,000 in total compensation.)
Shareholders line up for admittance to the 2022 Berkshire Annual Meeting. (Scott Morgan | Reuters)
The board recommends that shareholders vote to hold an advisory vote on executive compensation once every three years.
- The board recommends "no" votes on six shareholder proposals, including three on climate change, one on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, one on separating the chairman and CEO roles, and one asking the company to stay away from controversial social and political issues.
In response to a request from the SEC that Berkshire better explain how its board manages risks, this year's proxy adds several paragraphs saying Buffett is the company's "chief risk officer," but he and members of the Audit Committee "believe it is important that the full Board have overall responsibility for risk oversight."
In addition, Berkshire "rarely utilizes outside advisors and experts to anticipate future threats and trends" as Buffett and the three vice chairmen "are continually assessing risks."
Berkshire buys more OXY for less
In its second three-day round of buying in the past two weeks, Berkshire Hathaway stepped up the pace of its Occidental Petroleum purchases to take advantage of a drop in the oil giant's stock price.
In a filing, Berkshire disclosed that as OXY fell into the $50s on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week, it purchased a total of 7.9 million shares for $467 million.
That's an average price of $59.17, almost $2 less than the $61.10 per share it paid when it bought 5.8 million shares for $353 million on March 3 through March 7 after a five-month pause.
The added shares give Berkshire a stake of 23.1%, up from 22.2%.
Its 208 million shares are valued at $12.2 billion at today's closing price of $58.48.
With OXY's price staying below $60 on Thursday and today, and going as low as $55.92 yesterday, it's certainly possible that Berkshire kept buying.
We'll know if it did early next week, when it would be required to disclose any additional purchases made this week.
Documentary focuses on enormous donation made by early Buffett investors
A documentary film telling the story of how an unassuming Long Island couple turned an investment with Warren Buffett in the early 1960s into a massive fortune and then donated most of it to support water technology research will be screened this weekend at a film festival associated with the United Nations 2023 Water Conference in New York.
Director Matthew Mishory's "Who are the Marcuses?" highlights the $400 million bequest made in 2016 by Holocaust refugees Lottie and Howard Marcus to Ben-Gurion University in Israel.
A substantial portion of the money generated by the endowment they created is earmarked for the university's Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, which "studies sustainable use of water resources, desalination technologies, water quality, and microbiology."
In a trailer for the film, their daughter, Ellen Marcus, says her parents "felt that solving the Middle East's water problem might help lead to peace."
Buffett also appears in the trailer, saying "if you've done one really important thing in your life and you make it count, you've succeeded as far as I'm concerned."
"Think about what the Marcuses did. Just think about it. It does require a compass in your mind that points true north. They decided to do something that wasn't getting done that they could make happen."
BUFFETT AROUND THE INTERNET
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BERKSHIRE'S TOP U.S. STOCK HOLDINGS - Mar. 17, 2023
Berkshire's top holdings of disclosed publicly-traded U.S. stocks, and BYD, by market value, based on today's closing prices.
Holdings are as of December 31, 2022 as reported in Berkshire Hathaway’s 13F filing on February 14, 2023, except for:
The full list of holdings and current market values is available from CNBC.com's Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio Tracker.
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Also, Buffett's annual letters to shareholders are highly-recommended reading. There are collected here on Berkshire's website.
-- Alex Crippen, Editor, Warren Buffett Watch