The Motley Fool Previous Page

Buffett Picks an Investing Successor

Alex Dumortier
October 26, 2010

Yesterday, Warren Buffett laid down a new piece in the puzzle of his succession plan at Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A  ) (NYSE: BRK-B  ) . The Oracle of Omaha announced the hiring of Todd Combs, a 39-year-old hedge fund manager, "to handle a significant portion of Berkshire's investment portfolio." Berkshire watchers everywhere are scratching their heads and scrambling to answer the question: Who is Todd Combs?

A quantum leap in size and visibility
It's hardly surprising that Buffett plucked his new hire from the hedge-fund industry: Where else would one expect to find a talented money manager these days? Still, Combs, the general partner of Castle Point Capital Management, manages roughly $400 million, or less than 1% of the Berkshire portfolio's value. Among hedge funds, that's small potatoes, and Combs isn't a huge name in the business. What does Buffett see in him? Here are a few clues:

  • Value orientation: Combs is a dyed-in-the-wool value investor. This is an absolute prerequisite for the job: Buffett would never consider handing Berkshire's portfolio to someone who does not share his v