The billionaire investor has narrowed down Berkshire Hathaway's next-in-line to two of his top executives.

By Joe McDonough

Posted on January 11, 2018

Warren Buffett has appointed two new vice chairmen for his $500 billion conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Greg Abel, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, and Ajit Jain, head of its insurance operations, have been added to the board of directors and are now the clear front-runners to take over from Buffett when he steps away.

The world’s third richest person, worth an estimated $US88.4 billion, made it clear that the promotions were directly related to his succession plan when he sat down with CNBC’s Becky Quick.

“It’s part of a movement to succession over time and they are the key figures at Berkshire,” he said.

“I mean this would’ve made sense five years ago too… they’ve both got Berkshire in their blood. They love the company. They know their operations like the back of their hand. So it’s really good for Berkshire and it’s even better for me.”

The legendary investor said a potential hand-over could still be a way off yet, but it was important to begin the transition.

The 87-year-old was vague when pressed on the timing of the announcement, but insisted it was not health related.

“I’m in remarkably good health considering the life I’ve led,” he laughed.

“I feel terrific and I love what I do… I can’t wait to go to the office in the morning and there’s been no change in [my health].

“If there was anything about my health, and this has been true since I took over, I would tell the shareholders immediately.”

Buffett has led Berkshire for more than 50 years and the name of his successor has been a hot topic since he first spoke openly about it more than a decade ago.

It is understood the board has a designated successor ready to step in but that person can be replaced.

The news has been well received by investors with Berkshire’s Class A shares closing Tuesday trading at a record high of $308,350, up 1.26%, and its B shares rising 1.3%, to $205.61.