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Wall Street Journal / Biz - Money

Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway’s Marmon to Retire in 2018

Frank Ptak, a longtime executive at one of the largest units of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, said in an interview that he plans to retire at the end of 2018.


Nicole Friedman

Frank Ptak, a longtime executive at one of the largest units of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said in an interview that he plans to retire at the end of 2018.

Mr. Ptak has overseen industrial conglomerate Marmon Holdings Inc. since 2006. He said his preferred successor is Angelo Pantaleo, the current chief executive of Duracell, another Berkshire business.

Earlier Thursday, Duracell said Mr. Pantaleo will become president and chief operating officer of Marmon on Jan. 1. He will also become Duracell’s chairman.

“Frank has done a wonderful job for Berkshire from the first day of our acquisition of Marmon,” Mr. Buffett said in an email. “It was his decision to have Angelo succeed him at the end of 2018—a choice with which I 100% agree.”

Thom Lachman, president of Duracell North America, will replace Mr. Pantaleo as Duracell’s CEO.

Marmon has sometimes been called a “mini Berkshire,” because it is a holding company of more than 100 separate businesses ranging from railcars to wire products. Marmon is one of Berkshire’s biggest non-insurance businesses, which Mr. Buffett calls the “Powerhouse Six.”

Berkshire bought a majority stake in Marmon for $4.5 billion from Chicago’s Pritzker family in 2007 and acquired the rest of the business over time.

Berkshire is a conglomerate of more than 60 businesses, including insurers, retailers and a railroad. Turnover among Berkshire managers is typically low, but the number of new CEOs has risen in the past two years as longtime executives have retired.

Mr. Pantaleo worked at Marmon for more than two decades before joining Duracell. Berkshire announced its acquisition of the battery business from Procter & Gamble Co. in 2014.

Write to Nicole Friedman at nicole.friedman@wsj.com