2021: How do Greg and Ajit interact with Berkshire's other managers?
BECKY QUICK: This question is from Jason Plawner. And he says, “Mr. Jain and Mr. Abel, this question is for you.
“One of the successful features of Berkshire is the strong bond between Mr. Buffett and Mr. Munger, who manage the company better because they had each other.
“As you two are clear leaders of the next generation at Berkshire Hathaway, can you please tell us about how you interact with each other, or some of the other incredibly competent Berkshire managers you seek for advice?”
WARREN BUFFETT: Who’s that directed at?
BECKY QUICK: Greg and Ajit —
CHARLIE MUNGER: Ajit.
WARREN BUFFETT: OK.
AJIT JAIN: Well, there’s no question that the relationship Warren has with Charlie is unique, and it’s not going to be duplicated, certainly not by me and Greg, no. I can’t think of very many other pairs that can duplicate it.
Nevertheless, both Greg and I, at least certainly from my perspective, and I’m sure Greg will speak for himself, we’ve known each other for a very long time.
I certainly have a lot of respect, both at a professional level and a personal level, in terms of what Greg’s abilities are. We do not interact with each other as often as Warren and Charlie do. But every quarter, we will talk to each other about our respective businesses and update each other on our respective businesses.
And then, during the course of the quarter, while we may not have any formal sort of meetings, if you will, but every time a question comes up which is related to insurance, Greg will pick up the phone and call me.
By the same token, if there’s any question that comes up relating to any of the non-insurance operations that Greg is in charge of, like we had recently where a client of mine was looking for — trying to find a buyer. And I picked up the phone and talked to Greg, and we talked about, you know, how best to proceed.
So, that happens. And during the course of the quarter, every quarter we exchange notes. And we have a perfectly well-functioning relationship between the two of us. And I hope it remains that way. Greg?
GREG ABEL: Yes. Ajit, well said. And as he touched on, Warren and Charlie have an exceptional relationship. But I’m very proud of the relationship Ajit and I’ve had.
And as Ajit touched on, it’s developed over many years. We’ve had the opportunity — or I’ve had the opportunity — to see how Ajit’s run the insurance business.
And as Warren highlight and Charlie highlights, there’s no one better at it. So, I’ve had the opportunity to observe that.
And then, equally over the years, that relationship has just built and become greater and greater. And as Ajit touched on, couldn’t have more personal respect for Ajit, both personally and professionally.
And even though the interaction may be different than, say, how Warren and Charlie do it, as Ajit touched on, there is a regular dialogue, both around opportunities within our two businesses and units, both if we see something unusual that the other individual should hear, we make sure we’re always following up with each other.
But it goes beyond that. Ajit has a great understanding of the Berkshire culture. I strongly believe I do, too. And any time we see anything unusual in one of our businesses, it’s Ajit who I’m going to call and say, are you comfortable that we’re taking this approach? Is it going to be consistent with how you think about it, how you think about it in insurance?
So, it goes — it goes beyond just discussing the businesses, but that maintaining the exceptional culture we have at Berkshire and building upon that.
So, very fortunate to have Ajit as a colleague, and immensely enjoy working with him every day. Thank you.