The Pulse: May 7, 2021

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  • 14°C: Mainly cloudy. 30% chance of showers in the morning. Wind southeast 30 km/h gusting to 50. High 14. (forecast)
  • 6-3: The Oilers (32-18-2) lost to the Canucks (20-25-3). (details)

Edmonton native tapped to succeed Warren Buffett

Edmonton native tapped to succeed Warren Buffett

By Paul Cashman in the Business Roundup

As a young boy growing up in Bonnie Doon, Greg Abel delivered flyers and collected bottles to earn cash. Now the 58-year-old University of Alberta business graduate with an estimated net worth of US$480 million is poised to take over at Berkshire Hathaway when legendary investor Warren Buffett steps down.

The eventual successor to 90-year-old Buffett as chair and CEO was revealed in a “stray remark” from Buffett's long-time top lieutenant, 97-year-old vice-chair Charlie Munger, during the 2021 AGM, Investopedia reported.

"The directors are in agreement that if something were to happen to me tonight, it would be Greg who'd take over tomorrow morning," Buffett confirmed in a follow-up interview with CNBC on May 3 about the leadership of the US$640 billion company

Forbes estimates Abel’s net worth at $484 million, with a base salary of $16 million annually and $5 million in bonuses over the last two years. Buffett, whose base salary is only $100,000, once specified that his successor must be “somebody that’s ... already very rich … and really is not motivated by whether they have 10 times as much money than they and their families can need or a hundred times as much.”

The chartered accountant's reputation as a deal-maker put him into the top three at Berkshire by 2017, with Barclays citing his experience in “bolt-on acquisitions” designed to merge an acquired company with a division of the acquirer.

Despite the barrage of news coverage the day his future role was confirmed, Abel still found time to call former Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell to talk about the 2021 Global Business Forum in Banff that's scheduled for Sept. 23.

“Greg is all about keeping his word, and I can’t begin to tell you enough good things about him,” Mitchell told the Financial Post.

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By Michelle Ferguson

  • Former federal cabinet minister and Edmonton city councillor Amarjeet Sohi is "seriously considering" a run for mayor, but hasn't made a decision yet, the Edmonton Journal reports. Sohi, who served as Ward 12 councillor for three terms starting in 2007, will continue to engage with residents and says he "has no timeline for an announcement either way."
  • The City of Edmonton announced changes to its services, following the restrictions set by the provincial government on May 4. Outdoor fitness and recreation programming and field bookings are cancelled for at least three weeks, while the Edmonton Valley Zoo, city-operated golf courses and parks remain open to enjoy with members of a single household.
  • Edmonton's city manager Andre Corbould said most residents continue to comply with public health measures, but that the city would "beef up enforcement" in areas that have received complaints, such as the river valley and Whyte Avenue.
  • The Edmonton Police Service is adopting a new digital tool, called HealthIM, to improve the way officers respond to mental health emergencies. The app provides de-escalation techniques and a risk assessment screener, and allows communication with health facilities. EPS will be the first police force in Alberta to implement the system, which it plans to roll out to frontline officers by December.
  • A wildfire west of Edmonton has forced the evacuation of Parkland County residents living in and around the rural community of Tomahawk. Fire crews battled the blaze overnight. The county had been under a fire ban since mid-April, but it was lifted on May 4.
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reached out to Mayor Don Iveson on May 6 to offer support with vaccine administration, amid Alberta's third wave. The pair spoke about the impact of COVID-19 on local businesses and "the need for investments in supportive housing" to protect Edmonton's most vulnerable, Iveson tweeted.
  • A new contract proposal for non-academic staff at the University of Alberta would reduce wages by 3% across the board, retroactively from March 31, the Edmonton Journal reports. The proposed wage cuts follow a decrease in provincial funding of around $170 million in the past two years.
The cover art for The Get Started Show, featuring the show's title on a green background

Podcast pick: The Get Started Show

By Karen Unland

Startup Edmonton has started The Get Started Show, billed as "a show where we talk about getting starting with people who got started."

Hosts Benjamin Truong and Daniel Kaszor take turns interviewing startup founders about themselves and their companies. In a nice twist on the usual interview format, they try out some Edmonton eats before diving into insights that are of use to others who are in startup shoes.

So far they've talked to a wide variety of founders, including Jasmine Wang of Copysmith (over bowls of Splash Poke), Vinson Luong of Food Search (with brunch from Szechuan Sweet Mango), and Katrina Ingram from Ethically Aligned AI (with goodies from Celebrate Gluten-Free).

Episodes come out every other Thursday, and they're typically about 20 minutes long, which is a good fit for a presumably busy audience of entrepreneurs. If you prefer to watch rather than just listen, the shows are also available on YouTube, which allows you to see the Edmonton snacks they're sampling and to appreciate the "social media deep dive," in which the host asks the guest to explain a photo from one of their feeds.

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A cover image for the Canadian Podcast Awards, with a stylized microphone on a plinth

Quiz time: Awards


Test your knowledge with this daily quiz, brought to you by the People's Agenda project:

In what category is Speaking Municipally a finalist in the 2021 Canadian Podcast Awards?

  1. Outstanding Adult Series
  2. Outstanding Comedy Series
  3. Outstanding Education Series
  4. Outstanding News & Current Affairs Series
  5. Outstanding Society & Culture Series

See Monday's issue of The Pulse for the answer.

The answer to the May 6 quiz was c — KOVR is testing a VR platform to detect eye damage in diabetes patients.

What do you want the candidates to be talking about as they compete for your vote? Add your voice to the People's Agenda.

Image from Canadian Podcast Awards

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Yesterday's edition of The Pulse misspelled the names of Coun. Bev Esslinger and NorQuest president and CEO Carolyn Campbell. We regret the error.