LIVE BLOG - David Sokol's Live Interview on CNBC's Squawk Box
This is a live blog of David Sokol's exclusive interview on CNBC's Squawk Box.
He is discussing his surprise resignation as a top Berkshire executive and the revelation that he personally bought shares in Lubrizol before recommending to Warren Buffett that Berkshire Hathaway buy the company.
Sokol had been widely seen as the leading candidate to eventually succeed Buffett as Berkshire's CEO.
All times are Eastern.
8:11 AM: The interview ends with Sokol wishing his granddaughter Lucy a happy birthday.
8:10 AM: Q. In retrospect, given the reaction, would you have done anything differently? A. Looking back, I would not have mentioned the company to Buffett, but would still have bought the Lubrizol stock. "That would be a disservice" to Berkshire, "but if that's what people want to do in the future, that's fine." Sokol doesn't think you can ask executives to not invest their own family's capital in a company that Berkshire had no interest, or even knowledge of, and somehow police that. The only thing you could do is just say if you invest your own money, don't ever mention it to anyone at Berkshire, and that doesn't make sense to me either."
8:09 AM: "19 out of 20 times when we even have a conversation" with a potential acquisition, nothing happens. The Lubrizol deal came together very quickly and was a surprise to him.
8:08 AM: Asked in Buffett will need to tighten internal control at Berkshire to address the press "hoopla," Sokol says he doesn't think Berkshire needs to take any actions.
8:06 AM: Joe notes that Berkshire has a "squeaky clean" reputation and suggests Buffett might have decided to accept Sokol's resignation this time because he was concerned about how the Lubrizol stick buys might affect that reputation. Sokol says Buffett himself would have to say what prompted him to accept the resignation this time.
8:06 AM: Sokol felt the management in place at NetJets had demonstrated it could run the company well.
8:05 AM: Sokol says he felt it was the right time to step down because NetJets could continue to do well without him.
8:04 AM: Sokol says he never got any response from Berkshire after giving Hamburg details of his Lubrizol stock purchases.
8:04 AM: Sokol says it would be an entirely different situation if his company, Mid-American, was looking at a company and he was involved in the decision.
8:03 AM: "I didn't know anything others don't know."
8:01 AM: "I bought stock in a company that I thought was a good company" and even though he mentioned it to Buffett he never thought Buffett would be interested. He saw it as an unusual company for Buffett to like.
8:01 AM: Asked if he did anything immoral, if not illegal, Sokol says he didn't.
8:00 AM: "I didn't have any inside information." Sokol says he hasn't heard from the SEC.
7:59 AM: Sokol says he gave Berkshire details of his purchases in mid-March at the request of Berkshire CFO Mark Hamburg.
7:59 AM: "If there was any inappropriate behavior it should be disclosed" but he doesn't think he did anything wrong.
7:58 AM: Sokol notes that Charlie Munger had a 3 percent stake in BYD before Munger suggested to Sokol that he look at the Chinese electric car-maker.
7:57 AM: "I don't believe I did anything wrong." Sokol knew the investment would become public at some point is Berkshire bought Lubrizol.
7:55 AM: Sokol says that in the past he had invested in a company that he also recommended to Buffett, but it was a small bank that he though would be of no interest to Berkshire.
7:55 AM: Sokol: It would have been a "completely different scenario" if he was involved in Berkshire's decision to buy Lubrizol.
7:54 AM: Sokol says it wouldn't make any sense for him to invest in companies he likes, for his family's benefit, and not share his enthusiasm for the company with Buffett.
7:53 AM: Sokol understands the appearance issue and says that's why everything was fully disclosed in the news release.
7:51 AM: "I made the decision to buy the shares because I thought it was a good investment and I'd do it again tomorrow." But Sokol says it didn't occur to him to sell the shares once Buffett showed interest in Lubrizol because he would have no influence over Berkshire's decision.
7:49 AM: Sokol says he first spoke to Buffett about Lubrizol in mid-January, telling him there is an opportunity to meet with Lubrizol's CEO. At that time, he also told Buffett about owning Lubrizol shares. Buffett was initially cool to the idea, but Sokol had dinner with the CEO for further exploration.
7:48 AM: Sokol says he bought more shares in January as Lubrizol's stock price came down enough to meet his limit order at $104/share.
7:47 AM: Sokol first started looking at Lubrizol last fall and first bought shares in December. He had put in a limit order for 50,000 shares but only 2300 shares were filled as the price rose. He decided to sell those shares later that month as part of his personal tax planning.
7:46 AM: Sokol points out that "I have never had any authority at Berkshire to to invest a dollar in stocks."
7:45 AM: Sokol says information about his purchases of Lubrizol shares was included in the news release announcing his resignation for full disclosure, to be "100 percent transparent."
7:44 AM: Sokol doesn't aspire to be CEO of Berkshire, and in any case, "The reality is Warren's not going anywhere."
7:42 AM: Sokol says in the past Buffett has talked him out of resigning but didn't do so this time. Sokol thinks it was a mistake to stay on at Berkshire the previous time he tried to resign.
7:41 AM: Sokol says he's wanted to head out on his own for several years but stayed at Berkshire when Buffett ask him to turn around the troubled NetJets subsidiary. Now NetJets doesn't need his help any more.
7:40 AM: Sokol was Berkshire is a wonderful company, but "what I like to do is build companies." His work at Berkshire involved dealing with many details.
7:39 AM: The interview begins. Sokol is sitting on the set with Becky Quick and Joe Kernen.
7:35 AM: Squawk's live, exclusive interview with David Sokol is scheduled to begin at 7:40 AM ET.
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