Berkshire shareholders overwhelmingly vote to keep Buffett chairman

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FILE PHOTO: Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, pauses while playing bridge as part of the company annual meeting weekend in Omaha

(Reuters) – Berkshire Hathaway Inc shareholders voted by an almost 9-to-1 margin to keep Warren Buffett as both chairman and chief executive, and his company regained compliance with New York Stock Exchange listing standards by reestablishing a majority of independent directors on its board.

In a Wednesday regulatory filing, Berkshire said holders of 448,868 Class A shares opposed a shareholder proposal to install an independent chair to replace Buffett, while holders of just 54,425 shares favored the idea, a larger margin than Berkshire estimated at its annual meeting on Saturday.

Some shareholders opposed Buffett’s reelection as chairman, saying it was better if different people served as chairman and chief executive. Berkshire said it wanted the 91-year-old Buffett to keep both roles.

Wednesday’s filing also said three shareholder proposals for Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire to disclose more about climate risks and diversity efforts failed by nearly 3-to-1 margins. Berkshire estimated similar margins at Saturday’s meeting.

Shareholders also voted to install Omaha money manager Wallace Weitz as a Berkshire director, giving the 15-person board eight directors considered independent.

Berkshire needed a new independent director following the February resignation of 96-year-old Tom Murphy, the former head of Capital Cities/ABC Inc, after a bout with COVID-19.

All other Berkshire directors including Buffett; Vice Chairmen Charlie Munger, Greg Abel and Ajit Jain; and lead independent director Susan Decker won reelection with more than 86% of votes cast.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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