David Sokol has left the building. Here’s the note on the matter from WB. Apparently there’s a question about the appropriateness of some buying and selling of Lubrizol on Sokol’s behalf, though Buffet says, to his knowledge, nothing “unlawful” went down on Berkshire’s watch:

This press release will be unusual. First, I will write it almost as if it were a letter. Second, it will contain two sets of facts, both about Dave Sokol, Chairman of several Berkshire subsidiaries.

Late in the day on March 28, I received a letter of resignation from Dave, delivered by his assistant. His reasons were as follows:

“As I have mentioned to you in the past, it is my goal to utilize the time remaining in my career to invest my family’s resources in such a way as to create enduring equity value and hopefully an enterprise which will provide opportunity for my descendents and funding for my philanthropic interests. I have no more detailed plan than this because my obligations from Berkshire Hathaway have been my first and only business priority.”

I had not asked for his resignation, and it came as a surprise to me. Twice before, most recently two or so years ago, Dave had talked to me of resigning. In each case he had given me the same reasons that he laid out in his Monday letter. Both times, I and other Board members persuaded him to stay. Berkshire is far more valuable today because we were successful in those efforts.

Dave’s contributions have been extraordinary. At MidAmerican, he and Greg Abel have delivered the best performance of any managers in the public utility field. At NetJets, Dave resurrected an operation that was destined for bankruptcy, absent Berkshire’s deep pockets. He has been of enormous help in the operation of Johns Manville, where he installed new management some years ago and oversaw major change.

Finally, Dave brought the idea for purchasing Lubrizol to me on either January 14 or 15. Initially, I was unimpressed, but after his report of a January 25 talk with its CEO, James Hambrick, I quickly warmed to the idea. Though the offer to purchase was entirely my decision, supported by Berkshire’s Board on March 13, it would not have occurred without Dave’s early efforts.

That brings us to our second set of facts. In our first talk about Lubrizol, Dave mentioned that he owned stock in the company. It was a passing remark and I did not ask him about the date of his purchase or the extent of his holdings.

Shortly before I left for Asia on March 19, I learned that Dave first purchased 2,300 shares of Lubrizol on December 14, which he then sold on December 21. Subsequently, on January 5, 6 and 7, he bought 96,060 shares pursuant to a 100,000-share order he had placed with a $104 per share limit price.

Dave’s purchases were made before he had discussed Lubrizol with me and with no knowledge of how I might react to his idea. In addition, of course, he did not know what Lubrizol’s reaction would be if I developed an interest. Furthermore, he knew he would have no voice in Berkshire’s decision once he suggested the idea; it would be up to me and Charlie Munger, subject to ratification by the Berkshire Board of which Dave is not a member.

As late as January 24, I sent Dave a short note indicating my skepticism about making an offer for Lubrizol and my preference for another substantial acquisition for which MidAmerican had made a bid. Only after Dave reported on the January 25 dinner conversation with James Hambrick did I get interested in the acquisition of Lubrizol.

Neither Dave nor I feel his Lubrizol purchases were in any way unlawful. He has told me that they were not a factor in his decision to resign.

Dave’s letter was a total surprise to me, despite the two earlier resignation talks. I had spoken with him the previous day about various operating matters and received no hint of his intention to resign. This time, however, I did not attempt to talk him out of his decision and accepted his resignation.

Effective with Dave’s resignation, Greg Abel, presently President and CEO of MidAmerican Holding Company, will become its Chairman; Todd Raba, President and CEO of Johns Manville, will become its Chairman; and Jordan Hansell, President of NetJets, will become its Chairman and CEO.

I have held back nothing in this statement. Therefore, if questioned about this matter in the future, I will simply refer the questioner back to this release.

Berkshire Hathaway and its subsidiaries engage in diverse business activities including property and casualty insurance and reinsurance, utilities and energy, finance, manufacturing, retailing and services. Common stock of the company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, trading symbols BRK.A and BRK.B.

[BusinessWire]

88 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (88)

  1. Posted by Anonymous | March 30, 2011 at 9:29 PM

    Was that wrong? Should I not have done that?

  2. Posted by Anonymous | March 30, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    I would like to announce now that I will be blackout drunk on Friday night when I may commit crimes that involve a suit case full of cocaine, Dairy Queen and a slam piece I pick up from Taco Bell near Penn Station. Please be advised that I will not be in any control whatsoever and anyone I may unintentionally or intentionally harm has nothing to do with them.

    I have held back nothing in this statement. Therefore, if questioned about this matter in the future, I will simply refer the questioner back to this release.

  3. Posted by Jogulat | March 30, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    Well that’s the end of that.

  4. Posted by Lewis Winthorpe III | March 30, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    My girlfriend and I buy Lubrizol all the time, it’s no big deal. But we don’t sell it– I guess that is a little weird.

  5. Posted by Julia Roberts | March 30, 2011 at 9:41 PM

    Rumor has it he was never the same after watching EAT, PRAY, LOVE

  6. Posted by Anonymous | March 30, 2011 at 9:44 PM

    Wow an Eat, Pray, Love reference. This board runs deep.

  7. Posted by Guest | March 30, 2011 at 9:45 PM

    After a particularly intense session, he was little weird. But I could not fathom that this was what he would do. Blame the Lubrizol.

    - PJ

  8. Posted by Captain Obvious | March 30, 2011 at 9:49 PM

    LZ sure had a nice rally on Jan 25. I’m sure it is just a coincidence.

  9. Posted by LUcky Lloyd B. | March 30, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    WB must have told him the only way out was in a box or an SEC inquiry… you pick

  10. Posted by Anonymous | March 30, 2011 at 9:58 PM

    This is going to cut into my online porn time…
    -[Redacted], Senior SEC Staffer

  11. Posted by WB | March 30, 2011 at 10:04 PM

    Yea so Dave we’ve got this new policy…I know, compliance guys, what’re ya gonna do, right? But yea we’re gonna need you to send roughly…where’d she put the damn calculator…roughly $2.8 mil-ish to the Greater Omaha chapter of Friends of the Blind. Thanks.

  12. Posted by Wahoo | March 30, 2011 at 10:23 PM

    I just bought some lube-is-all. Gundlach knows what I’m talkin’ ’bout.

    - guy who knows that Gundlach knows what he’s talkin’ ’bout.

  13. Posted by Low Cunning | March 30, 2011 at 10:54 PM

    “…delivered by his assistant….”

  14. Posted by She goes down | March 31, 2011 at 12:04 AM

    Breaking News: Becky Quick Named New Chairman of Berkshire

  15. Posted by trojan | March 31, 2011 at 12:10 AM

    How many brothers you know at this party, man? How many girls did you roll up with? You’re going to have to leave the House.

  16. Posted by Todd Combover | March 31, 2011 at 12:21 AM

    So, am I in line for a promotion?

  17. Posted by LaBeouf Partners | March 31, 2011 at 1:18 AM

    David obviously didn’t pass his 7, otherwise he would have known better…

    -Shai

    Sent from my iPhone.

  18. Posted by FAILBOT | March 31, 2011 at 1:59 AM

    FAIL

  19. Posted by Jurassicpowk | March 31, 2011 at 2:20 AM

    Let’s see how those kiss-asses at cnbc try to squirm out of this one. “gee, Uncle Warren didn’t mention that when Becky was on the plane with him…”
    club seating on the G5 wasooo cozy u forgot to ask?

  20. Posted by guest | March 31, 2011 at 4:15 AM

    It would have been so much trouble had he used Vaseline instead of Lubrizol.

  21. Posted by Dude | March 31, 2011 at 5:17 AM

    Obviously, you’re not a golfer…

  22. Posted by Guest | March 31, 2011 at 5:18 AM

    Kill yourself

  23. Posted by Guesty McGuestor | March 31, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    Never gets old.

  24. Posted by Guest | March 31, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    I don’t really understand why people keep telling me to read this press release. Wasn’t it James Taylor who sung about the Berkshires and not Jimmy Buffett? Very confusing, if you ask me.

    - SEC staffer

  25. Posted by Anonymous | March 31, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    I guess he didn’t like eating Dairy Queen anymore………..

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