CEO to be named soon for Berkshire, Amazon, JPMorgan healthcare venture

Warren Buffett

This combo of file photos shows Warren Buffett attending the Forbes 100th Anniversary Gala in New York on September 19, 2017, left, and JP Morgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on July 12, 2013.

Buffett and Dimon started down this path in 2016 with a document called Commonsense Corporate Governance Principles that included recommendations for "truly" independent corporate boards of directors and "constructive engagement" between corporate management and shareholders, as well as eliminating quarterly EPS guidance.

They said the pressure for companies to meet short-term estimates was hurting the USA economy.

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"Quarterly earnings guidance often leads to an unhealthy focus on short-term profits at the expense of long-term strategy, growth and sustainability", they said.

They also said they have found a person to head up the venture that their two companies, plus Amazon, are forming to attack the health care system's high costs and quality problems.

"It can put a company in a position where management from the CEO down feels obligated to deliver earnings, and therefore may do things that they wouldn't otherwise have done", Dimon said.

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They argue that short-term guidance has encouraged companies to hold off on technology spending and hiring and research, and has even discouraged many private companies from going public at all.

A short-term focus by top executives teaches others within a business to make their own short-term decisions that aren't in the best interests of the business, he said.

Dimon and Buffett noted that the pressure to meet short-term profit forecasts has contributed to a fall in the number of public companies in the U.S.in the past two decades, "depriving the economy of innovation and opportunity". Around that time, big companies like Coca Cola, UPS and AT&T said they would no longer give quarterly guidance. "We're hoping a bunch of companies drop it right away". Companies including Unilever NV, Facebook Inc., GlaxoSmithKline Plc and BP Plc have scrapped the practice in favor of multi-year outlooks, according to the report.

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