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.
In addition to being known as one of the most loved and revered businessmen- some would say- ever, a savvy investor and a lover of Cherry Coke, Buffett is known for one thing above all else-- going out of his way to awkwardly marry aberrant sex fetish with folksy business wisdom. Some of his greatest hits include telling Bloomberg, on the matter of why people should want to sell their companies to BRK, "You can sell it to Berkshire, and we'll put it in the Metropolitan Museum; it'll have a wing all by itself; it'll be there forever. Or you can sell it to some porn shop operator, and he'll take the painting and he'll make the boobs a little bigger and he'll stick it up in the window, and some other guy will come along in a raincoat, and he'll buy it." Telling investors, of the housing crisis, "As house prices fall, a huge amount of financial folly is being exposed. You only learn who has been swimming naked when the tide goes out." Telling CBS, on the topic of bridge: "You know, if I'm playing bridge and a naked woman walks by, I don't even see her. Don't test me on that!" Telling Forbes, in 1974, on stocks being undervalued: "[I feel] like an oversexed guy in a whorehouse." [Forbes changed "whorehouse" to "harem."]
So that's his comfort zone, that's what people expect of him, and whenever he does decide to say something, whether it's later this week on CNBC or in May at the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting, it's got to be in the style that signals to people that Uncle Warren is here and it's going to all be okay.
But with his mind clouded at the moment, it falls on us to draft some statements. Such as:
* "Buying a bunch of shares of a company before convincing Berkshire Hathaway to do the same and subsequently making a nice personal profit off it is a lot like playing bridge with a harem of naked women in a whorehouse. It's irresponsible, maybe a little dangerous, but highly profitable."
* "Buying a bunch of shares of a company before convincing Berkshire Hathaway to do the same and subsequently making a nice personal profit off it is a lot like using your kinkiest moves on a busted Daytona stripper in the bathroom of a local dive bar. It seems like a good idea at the time but you ultimately end up feeling really dirty and possibly diseased afterward."
* "I don't condone what Sokol did but I can understand it. The timeline of David's actions- buying a bunch of Lubrizol, initiating meetings with Citigroup, then coming to me and telling me Berkshire should get in on it, knowing he was about to making himself a little killing is a lot like meeting a girl at a bar, buying her drinks, taking her home knowing you're going score and despite having a sinking feeling that something is off, and that you see something that looks like an Adam's Apple, convincing yourself that it's just a shadow, as you're already in too deep."
* "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."
Surely you can do better.