Warren Buffet looking for more
One of the most famous investors in the world has said he is looking
to invest in more women-run companies and bring more women onto his
Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, told the
audience at the first ever United State of Women summit in Washington DC
that he currently invests in six companies with female CEOs and is
"looking for more".
He also has three women on the board of Berkshire Hathaway and wants
to up that number too.
What makes me even more enthusiastic about the future, is that 90% of
that time [in the past] we were only using half of our talent. Think
about what would happen if we used all the talent for 100% of the time,"
he said. "It's like having one hand behind your back." The first woman
to join his board in 2003 was Charlotte Guyman. Her name was suggested
to him at first by his wife. "I said 'bingo', but I didn't think of it
myself, and that demonstrates one of the problems we men have to get
over," he confided.
Since then, Susan Decker and Meryl Witmer have joined the 12-strong
board, which includes Bill Gates and Mr Buffett's son, Howard Graham
"Out of the younger crowd of directors - and by that I mean under 60
- three out of five are women," he said. He told the audience that he
bought a business in 1983 from 89-year-old Rose Blumkin, an uneducated
and illiterate Russian immigrant who could not speak English and who
started off selling second-hand clothing and used the money to bring
over her family members. "She bought a small amount of furniture in
Omaha and it grew to become the largest home furnishing store [Nebraska
Furniture Mart] in the United States, doing over $400 million worth of
business," he said, "She worked till she was 103, she quit and died the
next year. So I use that as an example to our other managers that they
retire early." Buffett said he thought it was "very unfair" that his two
sisters were expected to marry and stay at home. "They scored higher on
intelligence tests than me, had better personalities and were far better
looking," he said.
Not only is Buffett investing in women, but also women are investing
in him. The anonymous donor at a charity auction who bid US$ 3.5 million
this month to have a private lunch with the investment mogul was a
woman, said Buffett.
She now co-holds the record for the largest amount ever donated to
charity to spend time with him.
The last woman who won a bid to have a lunch with him was "a few
years ago, from Canada", he said, and spent around $2 million.