In addition to his investment acumen, the economic downturn has exposed the disciplined, financial focus of Warren Buffett.
Berkshire Hathaway’s companies have been cutting quite a few jobs, as well as axing executives from floundering businesses, such as the head of money-losing NetJets which also shed nearly 500 pilots.
Of course Berkshire has the right to make such decisions, and they are likely to be prudent.
Yet for those laid off, the folksy quips from Mr. Buffett must surely get annoying. It’s one big happy family until you’re fired.
Bloomberg: Berkshire executives have eliminated jobs and closed plants as the sale of bricks, jewelry and luxury flights suffered in the recession.
“Nothing is forever, even at Berkshire,” Matthews said.
Buffett replaced Marvin Beasley in April as CEO of Helzberg Diamond Shops after saying in an interview that consumers “won’t go in our jewelry stores” because of the recession. A year earlier, Beasley told the Kansas City Business Journal that Helzberg wasn’t planning more job cuts after eliminating 21 positions, saying, “we think it’s going to be OK.”
Berkshire last year cut jobs at businesses including Clayton Homes Inc., which builds manufactured housing, and brickmaker Acme Building Brands. Buffett told shareholders at the firm’s annual meeting in May that he expected more reductions. Shaw Industries, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, said in October 2008 it was closing a spun yarn plant in Trenton, Georgia, to cut production. About 440 workers were affected, the company said in a statement.