The Oracle of Omaha understands that, for chief executives, personal issues are public concerns
A tough test for CEOs and companies is when to disclose adverse health events.
CEOs of major companies are public figures, and significant changes in their health status are "material" events requiring disclosure under the securities laws, because the information would influence an investors decision to buy or sell the stock.
Yesterday, Warren Buffett passed the test with a short letter to shareholders that included answers to the relevant questions:
- What was the diagnosis (prostate cancer)?
- When and now did he learn about illness (less than a week ago as part of regular exam --caught early)?
- Has the cancer spread (no)?
- What is the treatment (radiation, starting in July)?
- Any restrictions on ability to do job (no, other than short-term travel limits)?
- What is prognosis (condition not life-threatening at present)?
- When will Buffett give updates ("I will let shareholders know immediately should my health situation change. Eventually, of course, it will; but I believe that day is a long way off")?