- CalPERS plans to vote for a shareholder proposal to replace Buffett as chairman at Berkshire's shareholder meeting.
- Buffett would remain CEO under the proposal from the influential pension fund, which is opposed by Berkshire.
- 91-year-old Buffett has run Berkshire since 1965, and the company plans for his son to be non-executive chairman.
CalPERS, the biggest public pension fund in the US, said Tuesday it will vote in favor of a shareholder proposal to replace Warren Buffett as Berkshire Hathaway's chairman.
The fund, whose full name is the California Public Employees' Retirement System, indicated it would back the proposal in an SEC filing Tuesday. It will be put to the vote at Berkshire's annual shareholders meeting on April 30.
The proposal, put forward by the National Legal and Policy Center, calls for Berkshire's chairman to be independent. It would leave Buffett as CEO of the company.
"Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s Chief Executive Officer is also Board Chairman," CalPERS said in the filing. "We believe these roles — each with separate, different responsibilities that are critical to the health of a successful corporation — are greatly diminished when held by a singular company official, thus weakening its governance structure."
Billionaire investor Buffett has run the company he created since 1965, and he has about 32% voting power in the company, and owns about 16% of Berkshire stock. The 91-year-old is known as the "Oracle of Omaha" for being one of the world's most successful and closely followed value investors.
Berkshire's board is opposing the proposal and has recommended shareholders do the same. The company plans for his son, Howard Buffett, to be non-executive chairman after Buffett departs and current vice chairman Greg Abel to be CEO, according to Reuters.
"The Board believes that as long as Mr. Buffett is Berkshire's CEO, he should continue as Board Chair and as Berkshire's CEO," the company said in an SEC filing. The company did not immediately respond to an Insider request for comment.
Buffett highlighted the shareholders meeting in a interview with Charlie Rose, where he provided fresh insights into his recent investing activity and defended his company's recent bet on Activision Blizzard stock.
"That is going to be a very, very important meeting," he said.
CalPERS, which said is has invested $2.3 billion in Berkshire stock, also said it will support proposals for the company to improve its reporting of environmental and diversity efforts. Berkshire is also against these proposals.
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