Monday, September 21, 2015

Buffett Reminds His Top Managers: Reputation Is Everything

Warren Buffett‘s “All-Stars” are getting their biennial reminder this month that they need to guard Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s reputation–and plan for the future.

Mr. Buffett, who’s run Berkshire for the past five decades, sends a memo every other year to the managers of each of Berkshire’s 80-plus subsidiaries that emphasizes those two points. The latest such memo, which varies little from the version Mr. Buffett shared with investors in Berkshire’s 2010 annual report, carries Friday’s date.

Mr. Buffett reminds his managers–who head units that lease planes, sell jewelry, print newspapers, rent office furniture, make bricks, and train pilots, among other things–that their top priority must be to “zealously guard Berkshire’s reputation.”

“As I’ve said in these memos for more than 25 years,” he writes in the latest one, “we can afford to lose money–even a lot of money. But we can’t afford to lose reputation–even a shred of reputation.”

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