• Change of culture needed

    The right leadership will help SA shed its culture of violence, says Mandi Smallhorne.

  • 10 tips to find bargains

    Susan Erasmus gives advice on how bargain hunters can get the most bang for their buck.

  • Inside Labour

    Labour's bitter breaches need to be seen in historical context, says Terry Bell.

Loading...
See More

Full disclosure

Apr 23 2012 07:17 *Jeffrey Goldfarb

Related Articles

Buffett diagnosed with cancer

Investment opposites

Buffett defends proposed tax rate change

Oracle of Omaha

Buffett to invest $5bn in BofA

Rental property - do your (home)work

 

WARREN Buffett seems to have learned something from a fellow corporate titan. The 81-year-old investing icon disclosed on Tuesday he was diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer last week, and pledged to keep shareholders updated about his health.

The candour is a refreshing contrast to the way in which Steve Jobs guarded details of the illness that eventually killed him. Unfortunately, Buffett is shrouding his succession plan in the same sort of mystery the Apple boss did.

The prognosis sounds good for the Oracle of Omaha. Doctors have told him his life isn't in any danger from the cancer, which isn't an uncommon form for men his age, and that it hasn't spread to other parts of his body.

He plans to keep running Berkshire Hathaway as he undergoes two months of radiation treatment over the summer. The cheeseburger- and root beer float-loving Buffett doesn't expect any further changes in his condition for a good long while.

Jobs, though younger, confronted a more insidious disease. Yet in the years following the diagnosis, he was reluctant to keep shareholders informed much about his treatment – or, as it turned out, the lack thereof.

Jobs' biographer wrote that for months he refused surgery for his pancreatic cancer – and came to regret it. Apple insisted his health was a private matter.

It may well have been, but Jobs' gaunt appearance fuelled endless media and market speculation, as did substitute appearances at conferences by his lieutenants.

Unfortunately, Buffett's candour doesn't extend to identifying his replacement. He said rather bizarrely a couple months ago that he knows who it is but the chosen one doesn't.

That leaves open the possibility the individual may not want the job managing the $200bn conglomerate, a task even Buffett and his partner Charlie Munger have struggled with in recent years.

And given that a man once on the shortlist, David Sokol, left amid a scandal last year, shareholders shouldn't necessarily put full faith in Buffett's election skills.

Buffett expects to stick around for a while. Here's hoping it's long enough to realise he should reveal who will step into his big shoes.

 - Reuters

*Jeffrey Goldfarb is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

 
warren buffett  |  steve jobs  |  prostate cancer

 
 
 

Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Company Snapshot

Brought to you by BizNews

More from BizNews

We're talking about:

SMALL BUSINESS

Johannesburg has been selected to host the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in 2017. "[The congress] will ensure that small business development remains firmly on the national agenda and the radar screen of all stakeholders, the Small Business Development minister said.
 
 

Top 10 richest musicians of all time

Check out the gallery to find out who they are!

 
 

Luxury living

10 of the most expensive things that will leave your jaw hanging!
Seven of the most expensive children's toys ever made
5 millionaires turned murderers
The youngest billionaires in the world and how they made it

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...

Voting Booth

How do you see your boss? He/sheis:

Previous results · Suggest a vote

Loading...