On March 30, 2011, Warren Buffett penned an open letter expressing support for his former lieutenant, David Sokol, whose trading activities had been called into question. “Neither Dave nor I feel his Lubrizol purchases were in any way unlawful,” Buffett wrote. Then, a month later, he told shareholders and reporters gathered at the BKR annual meeting in Omaha that, actually, Sokol was a degenerate bum; a piece of garbage that needed to be taken out, lest it stink up the place. (Actual words: “inexcusable,” “inexplicable,” in violation of “the company’s insider-trading rules and code of ethics.” Buffett added that Berkshire “had turned over some very damning evidence” re: Sokol to the Securities and Exchange Commission, to boot.)
Though Sokol did not publicly respond to the comments at the time, they presumably stung quite a bit, since having your unassailable ex-boss basically call you a lowlife does not do wonders for the reputation. Now, a year later, after being informed that the SEC would not be taking action against him, is he in a Zen place about life in general and Buffett’s words specifically? Are the two men cool? Could Sokol see them being friends again one day? At the very least, is he ready to laugh about them? Yes, yes he is.
If we’re talking about laughing maniacally while smothering Buffett’s face with a pillow, as his response to a request for comment about the tiff seems to suggest.
In a sign that the rift is unlikely to heal soon, Mr. Sokol on Friday lashed out at the 82-year-old Mr. Buffett. “I will never understand why Mr. Buffett chose to hurt my family in such a way, but given that he is rapidly approaching his judgement [sic] day I will leave his verdict to a higher power,” Mr. Sokol wrote in an emailed response to The Wall Street Journal.
So, not yet bros again, got it. Only thing left open to interpretation here is if Sokol is alluding to having taken an actual hit out on WB or if he’s simply been praying nightly for a speedy comeuppance while stuffing pins in his a Buffett-shaped hair doll.
Ex-Protégé Criticizes Buffett Over Exit [WSJ]