A man with strong Fort Worth ties has often been mentioned as an heir apparent to Warren Buffett, the legendary investor who runs the diversified holding company Berkshire Hathaway.
But is Matthew Rose, executive chairman of Fort Worth-based BNSF Railway Co., still in line to succeed the Oracle of Omaha (as Buffett, the longtime Nebraskan, is sometimes called)?
A Bloomberg News story published over the weekend named Rose but pointed to two other leading candidates likely to be promoted from within the Berkshire Hathaway hierarchy.
Rose, 58, meets Hathaway’s criteria that his successor should be young enough to run the diversified holding company for many years to come. Berkshire Hathaway’s holdings include BNSF, GEICO insurance company, Dairy Queen, Fruit of the Loom and large portions of Kraft Heinz Co., American Express and Wells Fargo.
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Buffett is 87 years old and still actively involved not only with his company but as an often-quoted media expert on value investing. He has openly talked about the possibility he could soon retire.
Bloomberg suggests that two other Buffett understudies — Ajit Jain and Greg Abel — are closer in line to take over Berkshire Hathaway.
Jain runs Berkshire Hathaway’s reinsurance operations, and Abel oversees energy.
And, among those two it’s the younger Abel, 55, who appears most likely to get the nod.
For the record, Rose has never publicly commented on his chances (or even his interest in) succeeding Buffett. Rose, who lives in Westlake, served as chief executive officer at BNSF Railway from 2000 until 2014, and was at the helm when Berkshire Hathaway bought the railroad in 2010.
Rose continues to be active in North Texas, devoting significant time and resources to philanthropic efforts, among others.
To make matters even more interesting, Buffett has said the Berkshire Hathaway board of directors has already approved his replacement. But he didn’t divulge a name.
So far, at least officially, neither has anyone else.