Buffett, 87, and his 94-year-old longtime partner, Charlie Munger, are staying in their respective positions as chairman and CEO and vice chairman.
"I have to face reality", Munger said.
"I get into enough trouble with things I think I know something about", Buffett explained. "Berkshire will operate best if its CEOs average well over 10 years at the helm".
The billionaire founder and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway named two senior executives - Greg Abel and Ajit Jain - to the company's board on Wednesday, while also appointing each of them to run large portions of the firm.
Buffett said Berkshire Hathaway remained focused on identifying good businesses and investing in them. Jain joined the Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Group in 1986 and now serves as Executive Vice President of National Indemnity Company with overall responsibility for leading Berkshire's reinsurance operations. Jain joined the Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Group in 1986 and now serves as executive vice president of National Indemnity Company with overall responsibility for leading Berkshire's reinsurance operations.
"Why in the world should I take a long or short position in something I don't know anything about".
"If Jain become CEO it would be great, but the complexity of the insurance business requires someone there with more day-to-day supervision", Wedgewood's Rolfe said. Speculation had centered on Abel and Jain as possibilities.
Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, who are Buffett's investment deputies, are expected eventually to succeed Buffett as Berkshire's chief investment officer.