Lubrizol

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. Read more »

As you may have heard, this weekend is Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting. As he has in the past, CEO Warren Buffett will speak at length, and unlike time’s past, this year’s talk will include at least one awkward topic, that being the David Sokol/Lubrizol incident. We previously came up with a bunch of WB-esque words he could offer that would get him back in everyone’s good graces, including but not limited to:

“While nothing illegal went down on Berkshire’s watch, what David did is not the way we expect people to conduct themselves and it certainly left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Not unlike what I imagine would be the result of some boyhood experimentation on the farm and a cow with some funky tasting spunk.”

According to Andrew Ross Sorkin, who will be at the meeting, if Buffett wants to make things cool with shareholders, he can’t just say he was disappointed in David Sokol but that he was disappointed in himself. Read more »

The audit committee has concluded he “violated the company’s standards of ethics” vis-a-vis the whole Lubrizol incident. Read more »

When David Sokol, the Berkshire lieutenant thought to be the frontrunner for Warren Buffett’s job resigned two weeks ago, Buffett sent a letter mentioning that Sokol owned a bunch of shares of Lubrizol, which he had bought before pitching WB on the idea for the company. Sokol says he didn’t know much or how Buffett would react or if there was a snowball’s chance in hell BRK would acquire the company, or if anyone would even take this thing seriously. Turns out he may have had some reason to at least have a hunch. Read more »

T2 Partners is sticking with Buffett, Lubrizol incident be damned. Read more »

  • 31 Mar 2011 at 2:03 PM

Let’s Do Warren Buffett A Solid

As you may have heard, yesterday afternoon Warren Buffett announced the resignation of top lieutenant David Sokol, thought to be the frontrunner to take over Berkshire Hathaway when Buffett retires. In his statement, Buffett disclosed that Sokol bought himself a bunch of shares of Lubrizol before suggesting Berkshire make an investment, which they ultimately did. Buffett says to his knowledge nothing “unlawful” happened, though he’s more than likely a little pissed that Sokol’s actions have resulted in 9,197 stories in the last 12 hours about whether or not “the Berkshire brand has been damaged.” Other than yesterday’s press release, Buffett hasn’t made any further statements on the matter. He probably will feel the need to at some point but at this time may himself not even know what to say. He’s struggling for the words and could use some help. Well help is on the way. Read more »

  • 31 Mar 2011 at 9:25 AM

David Sokol: I Did Nothing Wrong But…

“Knowing today what I know, what I would do differently is I just would never have mentioned it to Warren, and just made my own investment and left it alone.” Read more »