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Charles Munger, Buffet’s right-hand man with whom he set up his empire, dies

Date: February 25, 2024 Time: 11:53:50

Charles Munger, Warren Buffett’s alter ego, sidekick and enemy for nearly 60 years as the pair transformed Berkshire Hathaway from a failing textile maker into an empire, has died. He was 99 years old. He died on Tuesday in a California hospital, the company said in a statement. “Berkshire Hathaway could not have achieved its current status without Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom and involvement,” Buffett said in the statement.

A lawyer by training, Munger (rhymes with “hunger”) helped Buffett, seven years his junior, craft a long-term business investing philosophy. Under his management, Berkshire earned an average annual profit of 20.1% between 1965 and 2021, almost double that of the S&P 500 index. Decades of compounded profitability made the company one of the most profitable in the world. Decades of compounding returns turned the couple into billionaires and folk heroes to adoring investors.

Munger was a vice chairman of Berkshire and one of its largest shareholders, with shares valued at about $2.1 billion as of March 2, 2022. His total net worth was about $2.5 billion as of early 2023.

At the company’s annual meetings in Omaha, Nebraska, where both he and Buffett had grown up, Munger was known as the straight man and scold of corporate excess. As Buffett’s fame and wealth grew—based on Berkshire’s stock price, he was at times the richest man in the world—so did Munger’s value as a reality check.

“It’s great to have a partner who tells you, ‘You’re not thinking clearly,'” Buffett said of Munger, sitting next to him, at the 2002 Berkshire meeting. (Too many CEOs surround themselves with “a bunch of sycophants.” reactions to questioning their conclusions and biases, Buffett added.

For his part, Munger said Buffett benefited from having “a conversation partner who knew something. And I think I’ve been very helpful in that regard.” Beyond Value Buffett credited Munger with broadening his approach to investing beyond his mentor Benjamin Graham’s insistence on buying stocks at a fraction of the value of his underlying assets. With Munger’s help, he began assembling the insurance, railroad, manufacturing and consumer goods conglomerate that posted nearly $24 billion in operating profits in 2019.

political ties

Although Munger aligned himself with the US Republican Party and Buffett with the Democrats, both tended to agree on issues such as the desirability of universal healthcare and the need for government supervision of the financial system.

But while Buffett reminded the world by urging billionaires to embrace charity, Munger said that a private company like Costco Wholesale – on whose board he sat for more than two decades – did more good for society than large philanthropic foundations.

With her own donations, Munger promoted abortion rights and education. He was president of Good Samaritan Hospital of Los Angeles.

Multimillion-dollar bequests to the University of Michigan and the University of California at Santa Barbara for the construction of new housing allowed him to give free rein to his passion for architecture, although his project for a residence for 4,500 people on the Santa Barbara campus raised concerns. Or protests in 2021 because the vast majority of rooms would not have windows.

Wesco “Groupies” Although he never rivaled Buffett for global celebrity, Munger’s direct delivery earned him a following in his own right. He used the term “groupies” to refer to his fans, often centenarians, who gathered to see him without Buffett.

Hosting the annual meetings of Wesco Financial Corp, a unit of Berkshire, in Pasadena, California, Munger outlined his life and investment philosophy. At the 2011 meeting, the last before Berkshire took full control of Wesco, Munger told his audience: “You all need a new cult hero.”

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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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