Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Furthers Succession Plan

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In an interview on CNBC, Mr. Buffett said the moves represent "a movement to succession over time" but declined to give further specifics on that timing.

Berkshire's B share class traded about 1 percent lower in premarket trading Wednesday as investors began to think about the future of the company without the Oracle of Omaha in charge. Speculation over Buffett's successor has swirled in the financial industry for years.

Jain now serves as Executive Vice President of National Indemnity Company and has overall responsibility for leading Berkshire Hathaway's reinsurance operations.

Warren Buffett is chairman of the board and Charlie Munger is vice chairman.

Berkshire Hathway's insurance and reinsurance operations are an enormous driver of the conglomerate's value, with the $100 billion or more insurance float providing the ammunition for Warren Buffett's investment bets.

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Abel has been named vice chair of non-insurance operations, and Jain vice chair of insurance operations.

He said Berkshire Hathaway remained focused on identifying good businesses and investing in them.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s Board of Directors voted yesterday to increase the number of directors on the company Board from twelve to fourteen.

Abel and Jain are both long-time contenders to succeed Buffett, whose five-decade tenure running the company helped him amass a fortune. Mr. Munger dropped a hint that was the case in a letter to shareholders two years ago, but the company hasn't officially confirmed that they are in line for the top job.