Warren Buffett’s Protege Has Been Named Geico’s New CEO

Posted on

Todd Combs, one of Warren Buffett’s portfolio managers, has been named the CEO of Geico, an auto insurer owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Combs, 48, is also considered to be the replacement for Buffett, 89, as Berkshire’s CEO, which he joined in 2010.

He will continue to manage $14 billion of investments at Berkshire while being the Chief Executive at Geico.

Combs is replacing Bill Roberts, a 35-year Geico veteran who became chief executive in June 2018. Roberts will become a Geico vice chairman and plans to retire at the end of 2020.

Combs will take over in January.

“That’s an awful lot of work for one person,” remarked Meyer Shields, a Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analyst. The firm has a “market perform” rating on Berkshire.

“Warren Buffett has talked about the overlap between being a good investor and a good businessperson,” Shields said. “This puts that into action, letting Combs broaden his operational expertise.”

Combs is also a JPMorgan Chase & Co director and helped launch Haven, the project Berkshire, JPMorgan and Amazon.com Inc launched to reduce their employees’ healthcare costs.

“I don’t think this is a predecessor to [Combs] being Berkshire’s CEO,” Shields said. “There is more experience embedded in Greg Abel, and if he takes over it is good for Berkshire to have a deep bench.”

Greg Abel is a Canadian businessman, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, who has been also considered to take over for Buffett.

Disclaimer: We have no position in any of the companies mentioned and have not been compensated for this article.