"The directors are in agreement that if something were to happen to me tonight, it would be Greg who'd take over tomorrow morning," Buffett said. Buffett also added that if for some reason Abel couldn't do the job, Vice Chairman Ajit Jain, who oversees Geico and all of Berkshire's other insurance units, would become CEO.
Abel is 58 years old and has overseen Berkshire's non-insurance businesses since 2018, after building its Berkshire Hathaway Energy unit into a major U.S. power provider. He is borned in Edmonton, Alberta and was for many analysts and Buffett's most likely successor, and committed to preserving Berkshire's corporate culture.
"We have a great deal of comfort with Abel as CEO and with the overall future leadership of the company. I think he has proven to be a really effective leader," said Jim Shanahan, Edward Jones analyst, who pointed out that Abel skillfully handled questions at the annual meeting about Berkshire's efforts to respond to climate change.
Jim Weber, CEO of Berkshire's Brooks Running company, said Abel has routinely visited the Seattle company to review its strategy and operations several times a year since becoming vice chairman: "I wanted to get his insight into what he was seeing in the economy and at the other businesses. He's seeing a large part of the economy just like Warren always has". Abel encouraged Weber to focus on Brooks' customers during the pandemic, which helped lead the company to shift to online sales and set sales records because people kept running even with the coronavirus restrictions.
He is now 90 years old and has never provided a timetable for his departure and declared that has no plans to retire.