In a significant development, CalPERS, the biggest U.S. public pension fund, said it will vote for a shareholder proposal to replace Warren Buffett as Berkshire Hathaway Inc’s chairman; he will however continue to remain as its CEO.
In a regulatory filing ahead of Berkshire’s scheduled April 30 annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, California Public Employees’ Retirement System disclosed its vote.
According to National Legal and Policy Center, a NPO, the roles of CEO and chairman are “greatly diminished” when both are held by one person.
Berkshire is opposed to the proposal. It has stated someone outside management should be chairman after Buffett is no longer in charge, but that the billionaire should remain chairman and CEO.
Buffett, 91, has run Berkshire since 1965.
After Buffett’s departure, Berkshire plans on making Buffett’s son Howard Buffett to become its non-executive chairman while Vice Chairman Greg Abel will become its CEO.
Shareholder proposals that Berkshire opposes are generally defeated by large or overwhelming margins.
Buffett controls around 32% of Berkshire’s voting power, while owning about 16% of its stock.
CalPERS said it will also vote for shareholder proposals that Berkshire report on its plans to reduce greenhouse gases and improve diversity, and its own proposal that Berkshire report on its plan to handle climate risk.
Berkshire opposes these proposals as well. CalPERS also plans to withhold votes to reelect directors Susan Decker and Meryl Witmer because of a lack of disclosures related to climate change.
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