Warren Buffett, 82 year-old CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and fourth richest person in the world, indicated once again last month that he knows who his successor will be but is remaining mum for now. However, speculation has begun to swirl around 28 year-old executive Tracy Britt, and whether she is being groomed as the possible heir to the Berkshire throne.
Whoever takes the reins will be at the helm of one of the most powerful investment conglomerate's in the world today. In fact, Berkshire Hathaway is the fourth largest business in the world, employs more than 280,000 people; brought in over $160 billion in revenue last year; counts among it's subsidiaries GEICO, Dairy Queen, H.J. Heinz Corp., and Fruit of the Loom; and has significant minority holdings in American Express, Washington Post, Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble, and IBM, to name a few.
So, who is this 28-year-old wunderkind? Here's what you need to know about Tracy Britt.
1. She Was Hired in 2009 as Buffett's Financial Assistant
Buffett hired Britt as his financial assistant when she was fresh out of college, graduating with an MBA from Harvard Business School. She initiated contact with Buffett by simply cold-mailing him a letter asking for a meeting while still an undergrad.
2. She is Currently Chairwoman of Four Companies
Britt quickly rose through the ranks of the Berkshire empire, and in less than five years has gone from financial assistant to the chief executive of four of Berkshire's subsidiary companies, including Johns Manville Corp. and Benjamin Moore & Co., that total more than $4 billion in annual sales.
She also has an office directly next door to boss Buffett in the company's Omaha headquarters.
3. She Co-Founded the Non-Profit Smart Woman Securities While Still in College
When she was still at Harvard, Britt co-founded a non-profit organization designed to help woman in the world of investment, which now has chapters at 18 colleges across the country.
The organization's website says:
Smart Woman Securities is an investment organization seeking to empower women by active investing. Through an educational seminar series, partnerships with top firms, mentorship opportunities, and extensive programming, the organization seeks to build emerging leaders of tomorrow.
4. She Grew Up on a Kansas Farm
She shares Midwestern roots with Buffett (who grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, where Berkshire Hathaway is still headquartered), as she spent her formative years working on the familsy farm in Manhattan, Kansas called Britt's Garden Acres.
In fact, when she first showed up to meet Buffett inOmaha in 2009, she brought with her a bushel of corn and some tomatoes as a gift for the billionaire.
5. Warren Buffett Is Dedicated to the Advancement of Women
BUffett has made no secret about his desire to see more women proposer in the business community. In an essay he wrote for Fortune Magazine last month, Buffet said:
Fellow males, get onboard. The closer that America comes to fully employing the talents of all its citizens, the greater its output of goods and services will be. We've seen what can be accomplished when we use 50% of our human capacity. If you visualize what 100% can do, you'll join me as an unbridled optimist about America's future.