Monday, March 16, 2009

Buffett's Salary

Before noting that Warren Buffett is (and has been) critical of the lavish executive compensation at other firms, a recent article points out the following:

Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of the Omaha, Neb., company, received a total of $175,000 in compensation in 2008, the same amount he received a year earlier, according to a regulatory filing made Friday.

Berkshire's chief financial officer, Marc Hamburg, earned the distinction as the highest- paid employee at company headquarters. But even his pay is almost certainly less than that of CEOs at some of Berkshire's subsidiaries, such as Geico, MidAmerican Energy and Berkshire Reinsurance. The salaries of executives at subsidiaries aren't disclosed.

Buffett's base salary remained at $100,000, the same level it's been for more than 25 years. He picked up $75,000 more for director's fees from some outside companies in which Berkshire has significant investments. That pay did not change from 2007.

Buffett and Munger routinely focus on the incentives that other companies have put in place, and that Berkshire needs to in order to achieve greater success going forward.

Are the people running the companies that make up your portfolio paid in such a way that their interests align with yours? I don't know the answer to that question...but I do know it's a good question to ask.


  1. Buffett does get an extra few million for security and use of the company jet. He is certainly undercompensated by all metrics though.

    I've heard him say in interviews that he lives on 100,000 per year. Of course, at this stage, his house is paid off, no kids, etc. But his is a life of simple pleasures--bridge, Coca Cola, and hamburgers.

  2. Right on every point. Thanks for the additional info!