Berkshire's Abel Gets $17.5 Million After Incentive Plan Expires

  • Package includes $15 million bonus, salary of $1 million
  • Buffett says energy unit benefits from diverse earnings stream

Greg Abel, who leads the energy business at Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., received $17.5 million in pay last year.

That package included a $15 million bonus on top of Abel’s $1 million salary and other compensation, Berkshire Hathaway Energy Co. said in a regulatory filing Monday.

Abel, 54, occasionally earns outsized awards under incentive plans that give him a period of several years to hit financial targets. A plan that was initiated in 2009 and expired in 2015 led total compensation of $40.8 million in the last year of that program.

Abel has been adding duties at Buffett’s Omaha, Nebraska-based firm and expanded the reach of Berkshire’s energy operation after being promoted to chief executive officer in 2008. He’s made acquisitions in both Canada and Nevada.

The energy operation has “an ever-widening diversity of earnings streams, which shield BHE from being seriously harmed by any single regulatory body,” Buffett said in his annual letter to shareholders, which was posted online Saturday.

Berkshire’s profit from Abel’s unit climbed 7.3 percent last year to $2.29 billion. That was helped by better results at PacifiCorp, which operates an electric utility in parts of western states including Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

Berkshire Vice Chairman Charles Munger has also heaped praise on the energy CEO, saying in a 2015 letter that he was a “world-leading” executive. While Buffett lauded other managers including reinsurance leader Ajit Jain and Geico CEO Tony Nicely in his annual report released Saturday, he didn’t mention Abel by name.

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