Sat May 2, 2009 11:30am EDT
OMAHA, Neb., May 2 (Reuters) - Warren Buffett on Saturday said the four candidates to succeed him as chief investment officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) (BRKb.N) did not outperform the Standard & Poor's 500 .SPX index in 2008, although their long-term records remain good.
"They did not cover themselves with glory ... but I did not either," Buffett said at Berkshire's annual meeting. "I am very tolerant in that respect." But he added that "their average over 10 years has been modestly to significantly better than average, and I would say that would be the case over the next 10 years."
Some of the candidates work within Berkshire, while others are outsiders, and none has changed in the last year, he said.
Buffett also said Berkshire still has three internal candidates to replace him as chief executive, and that the board of directors has a candidate to step in even if Buffett, 78, dies tomorrow.
"They feel very good about it," Buffett said, though he added humorously, regarding the potential for an immediate change: "Not too good, I hope." (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel and Lilla Zuill, editing by Jackie Frank)
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