Berkshire Hathaway Inc shareholders on Saturday rejected proposals to replace an independent chairman Warren Buffett, demanding his company disclose more about its climate-related risks and efforts to improve diversity.
Shareholders supported having Buffett retain both the chairman and CEO roles by a margin of nearly 6 to 1, Berkshire said at its annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. Buffett, 91, has headed Berkshire since 1965.
The National Legal and Policy Center, a Berkshire shareholder, had said it was bad corporate governance for the legendary investor to keep both roles.
The proposal received more attention when Calpers, which invested $460 billion on April 28 and is the largest public pension fund in the US, expressed its support, as it did with other companies.
However, the Berkshire board said Buffett should keep both roles. Buffett’s eldest son, Howard Buffett, a Berkshire executive, is expected to become non-executive chairman when his father is no longer in charge.
By a margin of about 3 to 1, shareholders also rejected proposals to increase awareness of the company’s climate-related risks, greenhouse gas emissions and diversity efforts across its dozens of companies.
Berkshire’s board of directors also opposed those proposals, saying its business had already disclosed or appropriately managed environmental risks, and was committed to diversity, equity and inclusion.
The proposals had a good chance of succeeding, given Buffett’s control of 32% of Berkshire’s voting rights. He owns about 16% of Berkshire’s stock.
Berkshire’s list of 15 people to serve as directors won shareholder approval by an overwhelming margin.