Warren Buffett is in the hunt for a successor. How do you secure yourself a spot atop his list of choices to take over as CEO of Berkshire Hathaway? Make him a cool $1.2 billion within three years.
That's what Li Lu, participant in the historic Tiananmen Square protest as a student, did.
Now, the appointment of Mr. Li, a 44-year old Chinese-American hedge-fund manager, as Berkshire's soon-to-be chief is a "foregone conclusion," Charlie Munger, Berkshire's 86-year-old vice chairman and Buffett's longtime business partner, told the Wall Street Journal.
Years ago, Li told Munger to buy BYD, a Chinese battery and auto maker. Munger took the advice, and Berkshire's BYD bet has yielded profits of about $1.2 billion. According to the WSJ, Li's hedge funds have banked returns of 26.4 percent in the last 12 years (compared to 2.25% for the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index over the same period).
Should he take on a role at Berkshire, Li's penchant for foreign investments will likely result in the investment company making more deals outside the U.S., reports BusinessWeek.
Li's personal story is even more remarkable than his investment record. He was born in China in 1966 at the outset of the nation's 10-year Cultural Revolution. Both his parents were sent to labor camps when he was child. As an orphaned student, he fled to France, and then the U.S. where he managed to simultaneously pick up an economics degree, a law degree and an MBA from Columbia University. Upon graduation, he embarked on a career in finance.
What do you think? Is Li a good pick to replace Buffett?