Jain, Abel appointments a move toward succession at Berkshire Hathaway: Warren Buffett

Jain, Abel appointments a move toward succession at Berkshire Hathaway: Warren Buffett

"They are the key figures", said Buffett in a "Squawk Box" interview from Omaha.

He has previously labelled it a "mirage" and a joke.

The Berkshire board voted to increase the number of directors to 14 to accommodate the new roles.

Buffett, 87, and his 94-year-old longtime partner, Charlie Munger, are staying in their respective positions as chairman and CEO and vice chairman.

Buffett, who has run Berkshire since 1965, said health concerns were not a factor in the announcement's timing, and that he still feels "terrific", adding that "maybe six weeks ago, I just decided, 'Why not now?'"

Jain and Abel each fit many aspects of Buffett's carefully tailored job description.

"What's going on definitely will come to a bad ending", said Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway's CEO, on cryptocurrencies. Jain is being appointed vice chairman of insurance operations.

Many investors and analysts have said Abel is a more likely successor than Jain to Buffett, in part because he is younger. He named Jain as vice chairman of insurance operations.

The appointments are sure to raise speculation that Abel or Jain are top candidates to succeed Buffett.

Jain now serves as Executive Vice President of National Indemnity Company and has overall responsibility for leading Berkshire Hathaway's reinsurance operations.

Buffett's investment deputies, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, are in position to eventually succeed Buffett as Berkshire's chief investment officer, while Buffett's son Howard is expected to become Berkshire's non-executive chairman.

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