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A possible successor to Buffett at Berkshire?

The oft-debated question of who will take over for Warren Buffett as the investment head of Berkshire Hathaway may have moved a notch closer to resolution.
/ Source: msnbc.com news services

The oft-debated question of who will take over from Warren Buffett as the investment head of Berkshire Hathaway may have moved a notch closer to resolution, according to the Wall Street Journal Friday.

In an interview with the newspaper, Berkshire Hathaway's vice-chairman Charlie Munger revealed that 44-year-old hedge fund manager Li Lu was a leading candidate to run a piece of the firm's $100 billion portfolio. The move could put Li at the front of the class to head the investment part of Buffett's role once the "Oracle of Omaha" steps down. Buffett will turn 80 next month.

"In my mind, it's a foregone conclusion," Munger told the Wall Street Journal, referring to Li becoming one of Berkshire's top investment officials. It was the first time a name has been mentioned for the investment role.

The newspaper said Buffett has asserted he's not planning to step down soon, but when he does he will likely split his job into a CEO role and an investment role.

Li declined to comment to the Wall Street Journal about the possible role. Buffett also declined to comment on Li, the paper said. Reuters said a spokesman for the company was not immediately available for comment late on Thursday.

Born in China, Li is a fund manager and investor. He was a student leader of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 and later was educated in the United States at Columbia University, where, helped by financial scholarships, he earned three degrees: in economics, law and a graduate degree in business, according to the Journal.