Biggest Mystery in Financial World Nearing End...

August 16, 2011 9:47 AM EDT
Who's going to take over Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A) when Warren Buffett is done?

In an interview with Charlie Rose on PBS Monday, Buffett said a successor at Berkshire had already been "agreed on." Though several candidates have been considered, Buffett is confident in a transition, saying, "if I die tonight, tomorrow morning it won't take the board an hour to have announced my successor."

Buffett hinted late last year that Berkshires then-newly appointed investment manager, Todd Combs, might take the helm. Combs is a relatively-young 40 years old. Former Berkshire exec David Sokol was also among the top choices until a Lubrizol (NYSE: LZ) stock-buying scandal ahead of Berkshire's proposed acquisition caused him to resign in March this year.

Other candidates mentioned earlier in the year include Matthew Rose head of Berkshire's Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad, and Ajit Jain who runs Berkshire's Reinsurance operations. Rose is 51 years old and Jain is 55. Geico chief Tony Nicely has also been mentioned, though at 67, he is considered a "dark horse" candidate.

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