Buffett’s Son Steps Down From Coke Board to Focus on Charity

  • Howard Buffett won’t stand for re-election at April meeting
  • Younger Buffett runs foundation focused on agriculture

Howard Buffett

Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Howard Buffett, the son of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chairman Warren Buffett, is stepping down from the board of Coca-Cola Co. to spend more time working at his foundation.

The director, who is 61, won’t stand for re-election at the soft-drink maker’s annual meeting in April, according to a statement Thursday. Berkshire is the largest shareholder in Atlanta-based Coca-Cola.

Buffett was picked in 2010 to follow his father onto the board of the beverage giant. The younger Buffett previously served as director at Coca-Cola Enterprises, which at the time was the largest bottler of the soda giant’s products in North America and Europe.

“I’ve enjoyed my more than 17 years of combined service to the boards of Coca-Cola Enterprises and the Coca-Cola Company and have the utmost respect and admiration for the work the company is doing to sustainably grow its business around the world,” he said in the statement.

He runs the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, which supports sustainable agriculture and conflict resolution programs. He also has operated a 1,500-acre (600-hectare) farm in Illinois and has written books on topics such as world hunger and conservation. The Coca-Cola board held six meetings last year, and committees had 40 gatherings.

This is the second son of an insurance-industry pioneer to resign from Coca-Cola’s board this year. Evan Greenberg, 61, stepped down on Oct. 1 to focus on his duties as chairman and chief executive officer of insurer Chubb Ltd. His father is Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, the former head of American International Group Inc.

Coca-Cola’s board, chaired by by CEO Muhtar Kent, includes leaders from government and business, such as former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, Banco Santander SA Chairman Ana Botin and IAC/InterActiveCorp Chairman Barry Diller.

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