Charles Munger, Warren Buffett's alter ego, companion, and foil for over 60 years as they built Berkshire Hathaway Inc. from a failed textile producer into an empire, has died. He was 99. According to the firm, he died on tuesday in a california hospital. He had lived in Los Angeles for a long time. "Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Charlie's inspiration, wisdom, and participation," the investor said in a statement.

Munger (rhymes with "hunger"), a lawyer by background, assisted Buffett, who was seven years his younger, in developing a long-term investment strategy. From 1965 to 2022, Berkshire averaged a yearly return of 20%, about double the rate of the S& P 500 Index. Compounded gains over decades made the couple wealthy and folk heroes to admiring investors.

Munger was Berkshire's vice chairman and one of its largest stockholders, with around $2.2 billion in shares. According to Forbes, his total net worth was over $2.6 billion. Munger was well-known at the company's annual meetings in Omaha, Nebraska, where he and Buffett had both grown up, for his roles as straight man and scold of corporate excesses. Munger's usefulness as a reality check expanded as Buffett's celebrity and fortune grew — depending on Berkshire's share price, he was on occasion the world's richest man — so did Buffett's.

"It's terrific to have a partner who will say, 'You're not thinking straight,'" Buffett remarked of Munger, who was sitting next to him at Berkshire's 2002 meeting. ("It doesn't happen very often," Munger said.) Buffett noted that too many CEOs surround themselves with "a bunch of sycophants" who are unwilling to question their findings and prejudices. For his part, Munger said Buffett benefited from having “a talking foil who knew something. And I think I’ve been very useful in that regard.”








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