Larry Page's new role model: Warren Buffett

Google CEO Larry Page has a new role model: Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett.

Page is apparently taking inspiration from Buffett as he looks for the best techniques to manage a 55,000-person Internet company which is adjusting to a period of slower revenue growth and increased cost controls, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The report said that Google is becoming more disciplined in its spending, even though it’s still pouring money into “moonshot” projects such as self-driving cars and balloons that deliver Internet access.

Many Google business units must now justify requests for additional headcount by showing how it will lead to increased revenue or users, according to the Journal report. Expenses such as travel and supplies also now require more justifications and approvals.

Page apparently sees an example in Buffett’s method of entrusting his holding company’s assortment of businesses to a variety of CEOs who are awarded capital based on their performance each year, the Journal says.

Page made the comments about Buffett during a meeting with Google top shareholders late last year, the report said.

Page is famously averse to spending time talking to Wall Street (he no longer participates in quarterly earnings calls) or to the press. The fact that he agreed to meet with big shareholders is another sign of the shifting attitude at Google, whose stock is up 3.8 per cent year-to-date, compared to Facebook’s 15.5 per cent rise and Apple’s 13.6 per cent rise.

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