Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Buffett Leans on 29-Year-Old Cool to Oversee Problems
Thanks to Matt for passing this along.
When Warren Buffett bought half of a commercial mortgage finance company in 2009, he hired a 25-year-old fresh out of business school to keep tabs on the investment.
Since then, Berkadia Commercial Mortgage LLC has earned back most of the $217 million that his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. spent on the deal. The business also helped propel Tracy Britt Cool’s career.
Now 29, Cool is one of Buffett’s most-trusted advisers, traveling the country to assist a constellation of companies too small to command her boss’s direct attention. The billionaire said his confidence in Cool is one reason he agreed to buy party-supply seller Oriental Trading. In 2012, she was named chairman of that business and three other units, including paint company Benjamin Moore. The subsidiaries have combined sales exceeding $4 billion and more than 10,000 workers.
“There are companies that I’ve never been there, and we’ve owned them a lot of years,” Buffett said in a telephone interview. “Tracy is available to work on things that I probably should work on, but either am too busy or too lazy.” He added: “She thinks like I would.”