Buffett steps down from Coke board

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The Independent Online

Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor and "Sage of Omaha", will step down from the board of Coca-Cola in April after 17 years.

Mr Buffett's insurance giant Berkshire Hathaway is Coke's largest shareholder with an $8bn (£5bn) stake, 8.4 per cent, and Coke has been a cornerstone of its investment portfolio. Coke insisted Mr Buffett had no intention of selling that stake, despite the company having lost market share to PepsiCo in the past decade.

Mr Buffett said he was stepping down to concentrate on the integration of a slew of recent acquisitions by Berkshire Hathaway, rather than because he had lost faith with the company. Coke shares closed up 60 cents, but analysts said it was likely that Berkshire Hathaway would trim its holding.Mr Buffett's resignation resolves a potential conflict of interest that led some shareholders to oppose his re-election in 2004.

Neville Isdell, the chairman of Coca-Cola, said: "We have benefited immeasurably from Warren's wise and sage counsel over the past 17 years."

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