The board responded with a statement revealing that there would be a vote to decide on the president and CEO’s (Loescher) early departure. Instead of going down with the ship, Loescher is reportedly trying to sink chairman of the board, Gerhard Cromme, too. A German newspaper reports that Loescher won’t step down unless chairman Cromme goes with him.
Loescher had another four years on his contract, yet Reuters is reporting that a successor has already been chosen — Siemens AG (ADR) (NYSE:SI)’ chief finance officer Joe Kaeser. With that, I would stay away from Siemens AG (ADR) (NYSE:SI) if not for its lack of growth then for the contentious nature of the company.
Oracle of Omaha
As for Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.B), you can’t really argue with the Oracle of Omaha. The company operates in four major sectors — insurance, regulated capital-intensive businesses, manufacturing/service/retailing and finance/financial products. Incidentally, one of Buffett’s favorite holdings, insurance company Geico, is facing a management shuffle of its own. Tony Nicely, chief executive of Geico’s auto insurance business, seems to be making way for his successor. Bill Roberts was recently promoted to president and chief operating officer at Geico, which suggests he is being groomed to eventually take over for Nicely, who according to Omaha.com is probably about 70 years old.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.B) had a net gain of $24.1 billion in 2012, and directed $1.3 billion toward buying back shares. But over the past four years, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.B) has lagged the market in terms of the percentage increase in book value. Buffett says the firm performs best when the wind is in its face, and considering the record run for stocks in 2013, it could mean a fifth-straight year of under-performance, which would be a record.
But this year Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.B) has Heinz in its portfolio, which Buffett bought alongside a Brazilian investor. All told, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.B) poured $12 billion into the deal. It’s focused on increasing earnings with even more bolt-on acquisitions this year.
Incidentally, one of Buffett’s many famous direct quotes is: “I try to buy stock in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later one will.” We’ll have to wait and see what the verdict is for the changes at the helm at the aforementioned companies.
The article Warren Buffett’s Not Afraid of This; Why Are So Many Other Companies? originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Gerelyn Terzo.
Gerelyn Terzo has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Gerelyn is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network — entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
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