Why Warren Buffett isn't criticized like other wealthy CEOs

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As CEO of the multi-billion dollar conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett is arguably one of the most powerful CEOs in the world. Yet, he seems to largely escape the harsh criticism many wealthy CEOs receive. He seems to be above the fray of even the biggest naysayers.

Author Roger Lowenstein believes that’s because 86-year-old Buffett simply doesn’t do the sorts of things that get CEOs in trouble or draw the ire of the public. Lowenstein has written several books about The Oracle of Omaha, including, “Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist.

The signature example of CEO criticism is the thorny issue of executive compensation, he says.

“A hundred thousand dollars a day is the going rate for CEOs ,” Lowenstein says. “That’s what Buffett gets a year.”

Warren Buffett (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

In fact, Buffett is the lowest paid among big company CEOs. The latest Equilar 100 ranking found Buffett was the only CEO on the list to make less than a million dollars a year. He was also the CEO of the largest company on the list, based on revenue.

(In case you’re wondering, Thomas Rutledge  CEO of Charter Communications, topped the list of highest paid CEOs. In 2016, Rutledge made a staggering $98 million.)

Lowenstein admits Buffett is far from perfect. The legendary investor himself is quick to point out his own mistakes, but Lowenstein believes Buffett’s sense of fairness resonates with investors. He’s never “sold out” his shareholders. “Buffett has always thought of his investors as his partners,” Lowenstein says, “and he hasn’t wanted to abuse them.”

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