Buffett Watch

Buffett's abstention prompts Coke to rethink plan


It appears Warren Buffett's silence is being heard loud and clear at Coca-Cola.

Responding to Buffett's decision to abstain in a closely-watched shareholders vote, Coke will probably revise its controversial executive pay plan before it goes into effect, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Warren Buffett
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

The plan was approved by 83 percent of the shares voted last week, but Berkshire Hathaway's 9.1 percent stake in the company was not part of that total.

Shortly after the results were announced, Buffett revealed in a CNBC interview that he didn't like the plan but abstained instead of voting against it. "I love Coke, I love the management, I love the directors, so I didn't want to vote no. Kind of un-American to vote no at a Coke meeting."

Read MoreComplete transcript of the Buffett interview

Warren Buffett abstained on Coke vote

The Journal, however, says Buffett shared his concerns privately with Coke CEO Muhtar Kent in three conversations in recent weeks, including a dinner in Omaha.

Buffett told the newspaper, "I'm against the plan, and they know it," calling his abstention "just as clear as voting no, in my view."

Activist investor David Winters, a vocal opponent of the pay plan due to fears it would excessively dilute the holdings of current shareholders, complained that Buffett had not "seized the opportunity" to speak out before the vote.

Read MoreBuffett: I've voted for bad pay plans

Buffett told the Journal that while Winters "is right about the fact that it's excessive," he's wrong about the extent of the dilution, "which is another reason not to join him."

The Journal reports that a Coke spokesman said in a statement, "No changes are being made to the plan at this time," while also noting it has the "maximum flexibility" to "ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the business and remains in line with all shareowner interests."

By CNBC's Alex Crippen. Follow him on Twitter: @alexcrippen