Charlie Munger, who was renowned for working with Warren Buffett to transform Berkshire Hathaway into a massive investment company, passed away at the age of 99. In a statement, Berkshire Hathaway confirmed Munger’s passing and said that his family had notified the business of his passing at a California hospital, one month short of turning 100.
The CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett, acknowledged the significant influence Munger had on the business, saying, “Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom, and participation would not have allowed Berkshire Hathaway to grow to its current state.” This year, Buffett honored Munger in part of his annual shareholder letter, stressing the importance of his role as a sounding board for investments and business decisions.
Munger, who held the position of vice chairman at Berkshire for more than 50 years, was instrumental in transforming the business into the conglomerate it is today. In 1962, the pair started buying Berkshire Hathaway stock, and in 1965, they finally took over the textile mill. Munger pushed for investments in excellent companies at competitive prices, exerting influence that went beyond Buffett’s initial value investing methods.
Although Munger favored to remain in the background, Buffett never ceased to give him credit for Berkshire’s extraordinary success. Munger’s recent appearances at annual meetings and interviews demonstrated his astute intellect and wisdom.
Munger, in typical self-deprecating fashion, credited Berkshire’s success to staying diligent well into their 90s and avoiding mistakes. He underlined the significance of being “a little less stupid and a little less crazy than most people.” To commemorate his 50 years with Berkshire, Munger wrote a special letter in 2014 that explored the factors that contributed to their success.
Despite being separated by more than 1,500 miles, Buffett and Munger remained close colleagues, with Buffett consulting Munger on all significant choices. With Munger’s departure, Berkshire Hathaway will no doubt continue to operate, but it will be difficult to fill his distinctive position.
Omaha, Nebraska, native Munger and Buffett became lifelong friends when they first met in 1959. Their collaboration, exemplified by joint ventures and investment concepts, revolutionized Berkshire Hathaway.
Munger was a fervent reader and an expert in human behavior, but his contributions went beyond business. He gave life advice, telling people to concentrate on avoiding grave errors that could endanger their personal lives as well as their investments.
Munger was a major shareholder in the Daily Journal Corp. and Costco Wholesale Corp. in addition to serving on a number of boards. Investors and business enthusiasts alike will remember his legacy, which is inextricably linked to Berkshire Hathaway’s success.