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Justin Fox

One Reason for Warren Buffett's Success May Not Outlast Him

The CEO's ability to move quickly has been key to building his Berkshire Hathaway empire, but he probably won't be able to pass that luxury on to his successor.

Serendipity and preparedness. 

Serendipity and preparedness. 

Photographer: Steve Pope/Getty Images 

 On Feb. 25, the day before sending out a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. annual shareholder letter that lamented the lack of “action” at the company in 2021, Warren Buffett got an email from Alleghany Corp. Chief Executive Officer Joseph Brandon.

Brandon is a former CEO of Berkshire subsidiary General Re who took charge at insurer Alleghany last April. The company had just released the first annual report and shareholder letter of his tenure, and he wanted Buffett to take a look. Buffett replied that he would, and also that he would be in New York City, where Alleghany is based, on March 7 (to see “The Music Man” on Broadway, among other things), and wondered if Brandon might have time to get together.