Here is a quote from the latest Berkshire Hathaway Annual Report, p. 24, http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/2004ar/2004ar.pdf
I can’t resist mentioning
that Jesus understood the calibration of independence far more clearly than do the protesting institutions. In Matthew 6:21 He observed: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Even to an institutional investor, $8 billion should qualify as “treasure” that dwarfs any profits Berkshire might earn on its routine transactions with Coke. Measured by the biblical standard, the Berkshire board is a model: (a) every director is a member of a family owning at least $4 million of stock; (b) none of these shares were acquired from Berkshire via options or grants; (c) no directors receive committee, consulting or board fees from the company that are more than a tiny portion of their annual income; and (d) although we have a standard corporate indemnity arrangement, we carry no liability insurance for directors. At Berkshire, board members travel the same road as shareholders.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Charlie and I have seen much behavior confirming the Bible’s “treasure” point. In our view, based on our considerable boardroom experience, the least independent directors are likely to be those who receive an important fraction of their annual income from the fees they receive for board service (and who hope as well to be recommended for election to other boards and thereby to boost their income further). Yet these are the very board members most often classed as “independent.” Most directors of this type are decent people and do a first-class job. But they wouldn’t be human if they weren’t tempted to thwart actions that would threaten their livelihood. Some may go on to succumb to such temptations.
Keep in mind, friends, this is the second richest man in the world, CEO of a public, global corporation, and the world’s most successful investor, and he’s quoting Jesus in his Annual Report! How many CEO’s do you run across that do that?