In 2018, Buffett appointed Abel as vice chairman, a move seen by market observers as a setup for a possible succession. Buffett had previously told shareholders that the company aims to install chief executives who are internal candidates and well known to the board. Ajit Jain, another top lieutenant who was also named as vice chairman alongside Abel in 2018, was thought by some to take the lead after Buffett. But Jain, aged 69, is a decade older than Abel. And Buffett has said the board believes CEOs should be relatively young, to ensure a longer run in the position.