|(Credit: Glen Davis)|
Buffett told the 200 mostly billionaire attendees at the New York Public Library that key to his success has been finding the right person to do the job and delegating responsibility. At Berkshire Hathaway, he has more than 70 managers. He told the story of one in Indiana, who oversees a $4 billion dollar business, yet Buffett has only received two calls from the man in 11 years and has never seen the company’s headquarters (“I hope it’s there,” Buffett joked).
His approach to philanthropy has revolved around delegating too. In June 2006, Buffett sent letters to five charities, pledging to them 85% of his net worth through annual gifts of Berkshire stock. The value of these shares was $37 billion at the time. The top recipient: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to which Buffett committed 500 million shares of class B stock, then already worth more than $30 billion. He gave 50 million shares to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, which he and his late wife set up in 1964. He also pledged 17.5 million shares to each of his three children’s foundations, which he has since increased. (All share counts adjusted for for a 50-for-1 stock split in 2010.)
Buffett explains the differences between philanthropy and business in the remainder of the article here.
If you're like me and this article leaves you wondering about philanthropy and your own business, this blog is a great resource for info on how your business can effectively give back.