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Warren Buffett offers job to winner of charity auction

Ted Weschler, who paid .2m in two auctions for the chance to dine with Buffett, taken on at Berkshire Hathaway group

It may be the most expensive job application ever – but it seems to have paid off. Ted Weschler, a hedge fund manager, paid .2m to win two charity auctions to have dinner with investment guru Warren Buffett. Now Buffett has offered him a job.

Weschler, 50, the managing partner of Virginia-based Peninsula Capital Advisors, will join another recent Buffett appointee, hedge fund manager Todd Combs, 40, to help manage Buffett’s bn Berkshire Hathaway investment fund as its 81-year-old founder contemplates retirement, the company announced on Sunday.

“After Mr Buffett no longer serves as CEO, Todd and Ted – possibly aided by one additional manager – will have responsibility for the entire equity and debt portfolio of Berkshire, subject to overall direction by the then-CEO and board of directors,” Berkshire said in a statement.

“With Todd and Ted on board, Berkshire is well-positioned for successor investment management at the time Mr Buffett is no longer CEO,” it added.

In 2010, Weschler paid .6m for the chance to dine with Buffett. He came back for more this year, securing a second dinner with another .6m bid. On both occasions the pair dined at Piccolo’s, a casual dining joint in Buffett’s home town of Omaha, Nebraska, according to Fortune magazine’s Carol Loomis, a long-time friend of Buffett. The money from the charity auction went to Glide, a San Francisco homeless charity.

The appointments come after scandal threw Buffett’s succession plans awry. Until early this year David Sokol, one of Buffett’s top aides, was seen as the leading candidate to take over at Berkshire.

But in January it emerged that Sokol held shares in Lubrizol Corp, a chemicals firm that Sokol recommended Berkshire should buy. Buffett said the holding was “inexplicable and inexcusable” and broke Berkshire’s code of ethics.

Berkshire said in February there were four potential candidates to replace Buffett, without naming them. The company owns more than 70 subsidiaries, including insurance firms and clothing manufacturer Fruit of the Loom, while its investment portfolios owns chunks of businesses including American Express, Coca-Cola and Tesco. © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds