Chinese-American hedge fund manager Li Lu has turned into a leading candidate to succeed Warren Buffett in running Berkshire Hathaway’s investments.
Li, 44, benefits from his close friendship with Buffett’s cohort Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Li, who runs Himalaya Capital, is headed for a leadership role at Berkshire, Munger tells the Journal. "In my mind, it's a foregone conclusion."
Buffett, who turns 80 in September, says he has no plans to retire. And when he does, his job is likely to be split into a CEO and one or more people overseeing investments.
Li, a student leader in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, apparently is in line for the latter position.
As a contrarian investor, he would fulfill Buffett’s desire for someone who thinks outside the box. “You want someone (who) can think about problems that haven't existed before," Buffett told the Journal.
Berkshire has enjoyed a $1.2 billion gain on a 2008 investment in Chinese battery and car marker BYD suggested by Li.
Li’s hiring could push Berkshire to invest more overseas.
“He is a person that Buffett has confidence in from a trust standpoint and who has experience from an international standpoint,” Michael Yoshikami, a money manager at YCMNet Advisors, which owns Berkshire shares, told Bloomberg.
In hiring Lee, Buffett would acknowledge that Berkshire must adjust its investing strategy to account for the stagnation of developed economies, he said.
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