Charlie Munger, the influential figure behind Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway, died at the age of 99 in a California hospital. Berkshire Hathaway officially announced Munger’s death, stating that his family informed the company of his passing away just over a month before his centennial birthday.
“It’s a shock,” said Thomas Russo, a partner at Gardner Russo & Quinn in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and longtime Berkshire shareholder, to Reuters. “It will leave a big void for investors who have modeled their thoughts, words, and activities around Munger and his insights,” he noted.
Thomas Hayes, chairman of Great Hill Capital in New York, revealed that a “big change that Charlie brought to the value investing community was not just looking for what was cheap but looking for what was out of favor but high quality.”
Munger’s passing occurred one week following Warren Buffett’s donation of approximately $866 million in Berkshire stock to four family charities.
Role in Berkshire Hathaway
Munger, the Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, played a pivotal role in the company’s success, serving as Buffett’s trusted advisor for over five decades. Despite his preference for staying out of the limelight, Munger’s impact was undeniable, the Associated Press underlines, noting his contribution in Berkshire’s evolution into an investment powerhouse.
Berkshire Hathaway, in an official statement, acknowledged Munger’s profound insights. As Buffet emphasized in his statement, “Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom, and participation.”
Munger’s Early Life and Partnership with Buffett
Born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1924, Munger pursued mathematics at the University of Michigan but interrupted his studies to serve as a meteorologist in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Despite not completing his bachelor’s degree, he later obtained a law degree from Harvard University in 1948.
Munger met Buffett in 1959, beginning a partnership that saw them transforming Berkshire Hathaway. Over the years, Munger amassed a fortune exceeding two billion dollars, securing a place among the wealthiest Americans. He became renowned for his charitable contributions to institutions such as Harvard-Westlake, Stanford University Law School, the University of Michigan, and the Huntington Library.
Munger’s Contributions and Impact
Munger’s influence extended beyond Berkshire, with board roles at Costco Wholesale Corp., the Daily Journal Corp., and service on the boards of Good Samaritan Hospital and the Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles.
Munger served as Buffett’s sounding board on investments and business decisions, helping lead Berkshire for more than five decades. He became Berkshire’s vice-chairman in 1978 and chairman and president of Wesco Financial in 1984.