Buffett besieged on disappointing growth, Coca-Cola executive pay vote
OMAHA — Warren Buffett on Saturday defended disappointing growth and his recent controversial vote on executive pay at Coca-Cola Co., as investors grilled him on his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. conglomerate at its annual shareholder meeting.
Buffett abstained from voting Berkshire's 400 million shares against the compensation plan last week, though he has long advocated against exorbitant executive pay and has described Coca-Cola's package as excessive.
“I thought this was the most effective way of behaving at Berkshire,” Buffett said on Saturday.
Shareholder Jake Kamm said the explanation Buffett offered initially for not voting against the pay package was not convincing.
“It's a little bit of spin,” said Kamm, who teaches finance at Baldwin Wallace University near Cleveland, Ohio.
Buffett was peppered with questions at the meeting, part of a mostly festive weekend that Buffett calls “Woodstock for Capitalists,” because Berkshire last year missed Buffett's five-year growth target for the first time in his 49 years at the helm.
Buffett, 83, and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger, 90, took the stage in a downtown Omaha arena.
Buffett said investors shouldn't have been surprised that Berkshire's results trailed the Standard & Poor's 500 last year.
“We will underperform in very strong up years,” Buffett said.
“Over any cycle, we will overperform, but there's no guarantee on that,” he said. Berkshire, he said, is designed to perform best when markets are at their worst, unlike in 2013 when the S&P 500 rose 30 percent.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Surgeon general echoes warnings about skin cancer
- Obama’s many rules often violate statute
- N.H. kidnapping suspect held on $1M bail
- Study: 35 percent in U.S. facing debt collectors
- Law enforcement, intelligence agencies want to ‘like’ you on social media
- Lawmakers say answering Census survey should be voluntary
- Mountaineer workers fear smoking ban will harm ‘livelihood’
- ‘Slenderman’ attack victim receives Purple Heart from anonymous well wisher
- Cellphone users can soon declare freedom from wireless carriers
- Deal to improve veterans’ health care costs $17B
- Ebola only a plane ride away from U.S.