The right arm of businessman Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, died on Tuesday, at the age of 99, in a California hospital, announced the financial conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, of which the two men made a giant of the American economy.
“Berkshire Hathaway could not have become what it is today without the inspiration, wisdom and participation of Charlie,” responded Warren Buffett, quoted in a press release published Tuesday, about the vice-president of Berkshire Hathaway.
“He changed the way I saw things”
A lawyer by training, but also a graduate in meteorology, Charlie Munger was originally, like Warren Buffett, from Omaha (Nebraska, north), where he worked, young, in grandfather Buffett’s grocery store. He met Warren Buffett in 1959, but did not join Berkshire Hathaway until 1978, after running his own investment company for more than a decade.
Having become vice-president, he contributed to the transformation of Berkshire Hathaway, a textile SME acquired in the mid-1960s into a gigantic conglomerate, today valued at more than $782 billion. Both men use a rational and dispassionate approach to investing, often based on a long-term strategy, going against the short-termism of many market players.
“Charlie Munger changed my way of looking at things, he refined it enormously, in terms of looking for quality companies and making an investment that can last 5, 10 or 20 years,” Warren Buffett said at the time. from an interview recorded in 2017.
“It forced me to ask myself the question: is this something we want to keep forever?” he added.
Charlie Munger will never officially retire
Charlie Munger’s fortune is estimated at $2.6 billion, but it is only the remainder of his wealth, most of which he gave to charitable causes during his lifetime. Each year, thousands of people came to listen to the good words of the two men in Omaha during the Berkshire Hathaway general meeting, during which they spent several hours answering questions from the public.
Although approaching 100 years old, which he would have had on January 1, Charlie Munger will never have officially retired. At 93, Warren Buffett remains CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. In 2021, he nevertheless appointed a successor, in the person of Greg Abel, 61, now vice-president of the group.