7 things to know about Greg Abel, the Iowan in line to lead Berkshire Hathaway

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Billionaire Warren Buffett has tapped Des Moines resident Greg Abel to lead the massive conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway.

Des Moines resident Greg Abel is poised to become one of the most important business figures in the nation. A current vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Abel will have his first annual meeting as the company’s future CEO on April 30.

Here's what to know about the Iowa businessman.

He's Warren Buffett's chosen successor

Warren Buffett revealed in 2021 that Abel, 59, is in line to lead Omaha-based Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett's $761 billion conglomerate, when the billionaire ceases to be its chief executive.

Buffett has announced no immediate plan to retire or step down from the company's operations.

More: Iowan Greg Abel is a ‘regular guy’ with a ‘shocking workload.’ He’s also Warren Buffett’s chosen successor.

He's been with Berkshire Hathaway for decades

Abel is chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Energy and oversees Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy. He came to Berkshire Hathaway when it acquired MidAmerican Energy Holdings in 2000.

He leads Berkshire Hathaway's noninsurance companies, including the BNSF railway and other firms that generated $276 billion in revenue last year.

He grew up and studied business in Canada

Abel grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, according to the Horatio Alger Association.

He graduated from the University of Alberta in 1984 with a degree in commerce and joined PricewaterhouseCoopers in Edmonton as an accountant.

Abel said his parents emphasized education as the foundation for a bright future. "One thing I saw early in my life was that with your family around you, with good friends, it gives you the opportunity to dream."

What is Greg Abel's salary?

In 2020 and 2021, Greg Abel made $19 million.

More: Des Moines resident tapped as future Berkshire Hathaway CEO is a 'grounded,' 'brilliant,' friends say

He leads a division that includes Iowa's largest utility

Abel leads Berkshire Hathaway Energy, a division of the company that includes MidAmerican Energy, Iowa's largest energy provider. He was a key figure in MidAmerican's massive investment in wind energy.

Buffett called the energy business one of "four giants" in the Berkshire portfolio.

MidAmerican has about 3,400 turbines in operation, mostly in Iowa, and has invested $13.6 billion in wind production since 2004.

He's a hockey fan — and it runs in the family

Abel is a passionate hockey fan and is the nephew of Sid Abel, a Canadian Hall of Famer who played several seasons for the Detroit Red Wings.

He's a volunteer coach on his son's hockey team, which practices at the new $45 million RecPlex. MidAmerican Energy donated $5 million for RecPlex naming rights and Abel personally donated at least $1 million to the project, which includes the Abel Ice Arena named in his honor.

"Greg saw the opportunity here" in giving kids an affordable way to play hockey and other sports, said West Des Moines RecPlex general manager and fellow hockey parent Shayne Ratcliff. "And we've been packed to the gills."

Abel lives in Iowa, and that's not likely to change

While Berkshire Hathaway is based in Omaha, Nebraska, friends say Abel is likely to stay in Iowa after becoming CEO.

Friend Jim Cownie, a Des Moines developer and philanthropist, said the flight from Des Moines to Omaha takes about 15 minutes, not much of a commute for the executive who travels extensively. He also said Abel installed an elevator in his Des Moines home, a sign he wants to age there.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Who is Warren Buffett's successor, Des Moines resident Greg Abel?