Warren Buffett’s annual charity lunch auction, benefiting the San Francisco-based charity GLIDE, provides an opportunity for the winning bidder to have a private lunch with the legendary investor and discuss various topics, excluding Buffett’s future investment plans.
Since its inception in 2000, the auction has seen remarkable bids, with a record-breaking $19 million in 2022. Notable among the winners is Ted Weschler, a hedge fund manager who secured the coveted lunches with Buffett in 2010 and 2011 by bidding over $5.25 million in total.
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Weschler’s story stands out not only for his philanthropic contributions but also for initially declining a job offer from Buffett. The decision marked a significant turning point in his career. In an interview with the “I Am Home Podcast,” Weschler recounted the series of events starting with the charity lunches that led to his role as one of Buffett’s investment managers at Berkshire Hathaway.
Recalling the moment during the podcast interview, Weschler said, “We went to Piccolo’s, and it was terrific. … I just want to look at my notes, do you mind? And you can ask me anything if you want, Warren.” As he reviewed his notes, Buffett surprised him by saying, “I think you’d be a pretty good fit out here. Would you have any interest in working at Berkshire?” Weschler admitted, “I just absolutely panicked! This was absolutely not what I was thinking. Not at all.”
Despite his initial hesitation, Buffett left the door open, saying, “You don’t have to decide now, but if you feel that in two, three, five years, just let me know.” Weschler returned to Charlottesville, Virginia, where he was managing a large bankruptcy and had family roots.
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He sent Buffett a carefully worded letter explaining his situation, and Buffett responded, “You can manage money from the moon as far as I’m concerned. So, you can stay in Charlottesville. And I like the fact that you want to finish up this bankruptcy.”
Weschler joined Berkshire Hathaway on Sept. 12, 2011. His method of using charity auctions to gain Buffett’s attention led to a significant role in managing billions in Berkshire’s equity securities.
Born in 1962 in the Rust Belt, Weschler graduated in 1983 from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. His career included roles at W. R. Grace & Co., Quad-C Management Inc. and founding Peninsula Capital Advisors in 1999, where he achieved a 1,236% return on a $2 billion fund.
At Berkshire Hathaway, Weschler works alongside Todd Combs. Both men are seen as potential successors to Buffett in managing the company’s vast investment portfolio. This plan ensures that they will oversee Berkshire’s equity and debt portfolio upon Buffett’s retirement, under the guidance of the future CEO and board of directors.
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This article A Man Spent Over $5 Million On 2 Lunches With Warren Buffett That Resulted In A High-Profile Job Offer At Berkshire Hathaway — But He Panicked And Turned Buffett Down originally appeared on Benzinga.com
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