Nation & World

Berkshire says median employee makes over half Warren Buffett's pay

Buffett is world's third-richest person

FILE PHOTO: Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett visits the BNSF booth before the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., May 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett visits the BNSF booth before the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., May 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo

Berkshire Hathaway Inc on Friday said its median employee last year made a little over half the $100,000 salary that Chairman Warren Buffett was awarded for running the conglomerate that made him the world’s third-richest person.

In a regulatory filing, Berkshire said Buffett’s salary, unchanged for more than a quarter century, was about 1.87 times the $53,510 median pay, based on a sample of about two-thirds of Berkshire’s 377,000 employees across some 90 businesses such as Geico insurance, the BNSF railroad and Dairy Queen ice cream.

The 1.87 pay multiplier contrasts with the three-figure multipliers that some chiefs of big U.S. companies receive.

But nearly all of their fortunes, and those of Berkshire employees, are far smaller than Buffett’s, whose $88.8 billion net worth trails only those of Amazon.com Inc Chief Executive Jeff Bezos and Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates, according to Forbes magazine.

Berkshire is working with Amazon and JPMorgan Chase & Co to develop a company that lowers health care costs. Gates is a Berkshire director and longtime friend of Buffett.

According to Friday’s filing, Berkshire in 2017 also provided Buffett with $375,000 of home and personal security services, while Buffett, 87, reimbursed Berkshire $50,000 for personal expenses.

Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Manger, 94, drew his usual $100,000 salary in 2017, while Chief Financial Officer Marc Hamburg’s pay rose 46 percent to $2.29 million, the filing said.

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Pay was not disclosed for Greg Abel and Ajit Jain, the newly installed vice chairmen respectively overseeing Berkshire’s non-insurance and insurance operations, but it will continue to be determined by Buffett.

Berkshire also recommended the rejection at its May 5 annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska of proposals by two shareholders.

Marcia Sage wants Berkshire to issue a report on its methane emissions, while Freeda Cathcart wants Berkshire to encourage more operating businesses to issue sustainability reports.

Berkshire called Sage’s proposal imprudent, and said Cathcart’s was “inconsistent with Berkshire’s culture” of letting managers do their jobs without Buffett’s interference.

Buffett controls 32 percent of Berkshire’s voting power.

He also owns 17.2 percent of its stock, despite having donated more than $27.6 billion since 2006.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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