He'sa self-described 'kid from Omaha' who grew up to be a force in the world of business, a turnaround specialist who, at the height of the recession, took the reins of arguably the toughest business outside of housing and actually fixed it in record time.
Icould be talking about Warren Buffett, who, in the '60's bought a floundering textile company and turned it into one of the most succesful conglomerate holding companies in the world.
But I'm not.
I'm talking about David Sokol, the man who works for Warren Buffett. He runs two Buffett businesses: MidAmerican Energy and NetJets.
It was NetJets that was truly stumbling during the Recession, buckling under the weight of nearly $2 billion in debt and an atmosphere that demonized anyone who used a private jet. At the time, it was being run by Richard Santulli. Santulli, a former Goldman Sachs guy, had founded the company and had sold it to Buffett butcontinued to be in charge. By mid-2009, NetJets was in trouble. Big trouble. Now, this is a business Buffett likes a lot. He clearly thought that, with the right leadership, it could be turned around. He quickly installed Sokol, one of his favorite managers and boom, the engines starting revving.
How is the private jet business now? And what about energy, which Sokol also deals with on a daily basis? We talk about all that and more with him.
Buffett is frugal with his money AND with his compliments. He never throwseither around, so when he says things like, "Dave Sokol bailed me out" when it comes to NetJets, you really ought to get to know Sokol a bit better.
Please listen to both clips.. you'll getmore of a sense of who Sokol is... and why he's often talked about as the man who will eventually run Berkshire when Buffettsteps down.(but don't hold your breath for *that*... Buffett hastold me he'll stay as long as he can!)