March 11, 2010 / 11:42 PM / 10 years ago

Buffett, world's 3rd-richest person, gets pay rise

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Warren Buffett was awarded total compensation of about $519,490 in 2009 to run Berkshire Hathaway Inc, a 6 percent increase mainly reflecting the higher cost of keeping the world’s third-richest person safe.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett laughs as he appears with Microsoft Corporation founder Bill Gates for a town hall style meeting with business students broadcast by financial television network CNBC at Columbia University in New York in this November 12, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Mike Segar

According to Berkshire’s proxy filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Buffett’s salary was $100,000, as it has been for more than a quarter century.

Buffett also received $75,000 in fees for serving as a director of Washington Post Co, a large Berkshire investment.

Compensation also included $344,490 of personal and home security services, up 9 percent from $315,709 a year earlier.

In September 2007, a man carrying a fake gun and wearing dark camouflage paint on his face tried to break into Buffett’s ungated home in Omaha, Nebraska. Buffett was home at the time. A security guard at the property disarmed the man.

Among Berkshire’s top executives, Chief Financial Officer Marc Hamburg remained the best paid in 2009. His compensation rose 11 percent to $874,750, almost all of which was salary.

Berkshire employs roughly 257,000 people, but only 21 at its Omaha headquarters. It is possible that senior employees at some of Berkshire’s roughly 80 operating businesses may be paid more, but their compensation is not disclosed in the proxy.

Profit at Berkshire rose 61 percent last year to $8.06 billion, largely from paper gains on derivative contracts. Buffett also announced a $26.5 billion takeover of railroad operator Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp.

Yet many of Berkshire’s operating businesses struggled because of the recession and consumer reluctance to spend.

Buffett’s compensation is among the lowest among any major U.S. corporate chief executive. His net worth nevertheless is about $47 billion, Forbes magazine said on Wednesday.

Buffett controls 33.3 percent of Berkshire’s Class A shares and 8.4 percent of its Class B shares and 24.3 percent of the combined “economic interest” of those shares, the proxy shows.

The Class A shares closed Thursday up $203 at $123,453, while the Class B shares closed up 29 cents at $82.36.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; editing by Andre Grenon

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