Buffett appoints Todd Combs to handle Berkshire investment portfolio

The new heir apparent to Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s roughly $100 billion investment portfolio came to the job the old-fashioned way: He applied for it.

Wall Street was still agog Tuesday about Warren Buffett’s selection of Todd Combs, a little-known 39-year-old fund manager who is the leading contender to take over Mr. Buffett’s portfolio when the investing legend dies or retires.

Mr. Combs was one of hundreds of people who responded to an unconventional “help wanted” request Mr. Buffett made in early 2007. But his initial inquiry didn’t distinguish itself.

Undaunted, the low-key father of three, who lives in Darien, Conn., recently sent another letter to Berkshire Vice Chairman Charles Munger asking for a meeting. Mr. Munger said in an interview that he gets “hundreds” of such requests each year, but “something in his request piqued my interest.”

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