How Warren Buffett Manages 60 Companies and Over 330,000 Employees | Exploring Markets

How Warren Buffett Manages 60 Companies and Over 330,000 Employees

Most know Warren Buffett as a master investor. Or a billionaire. But what’s often forgotten and not talked about enough is the simple fact Buffett is also a manager.

His company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns and operates more than 60 individual companies. Those 60+ companies have about 330,000 total employees. At the top, sits Buffett.

So how does he manage all of this? Trust and passion. In an excerpt from one of his yearly shareholder letters he writes the following two paragraphs to show what he values and why his team succeeds:
"Berkshire’s collection of managers is unusual in several important ways. As one example, a very high percentage of these men and women are independently wealthy, having made fortunes in the businesses that they run. They work neither because they need the money nor because they are contractually obligated to — we have no contracts at Berkshire. Rather, they work long and hard because they love their businesses. And I use the word “their” advisedly, since these managers are truly in charge — there are no show-and-tell presentations in Omaha, no budgets to be approved by headquarters, no dictums issued about capital expenditures. We simply ask our managers to run their companies as if these are the sole asset of their families and will remain so for the next century.
I try to behave with our managers just as we attempt to behave with Berkshire’s shareholders, treating both groups as we would wish to be treated if our positions were reversed. Though “working” means nothing to me financially, I love doing it at Berkshire for some simple reasons: It gives me a sense of achievement, a freedom to act as I see fit and an opportunity to interact daily with people I like and trust. Why should our managers — accomplished artists at what they do — see things differently?"
To read Buffett’s entire letter, go here: Warren Buffett, 1999, Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder letter