Berkshire Hathaway Hires Investment Manager

Warren Buffett's investment firm has hired a 39-year-old hedge fund manager to oversee a portion of its $100 billion portfolio. Todd Combs had been running a small hedge fund in Connecticut. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Buffett, who turned 80 in August, said he doesn't plan to retire yet.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

The Ford Motor Company announced this morning that it made $1.7 billion in profits in the last quarter, and that beat analysts' estimates. This is the company's sixth straight profitable quarter, and with business strong again, Ford plans to invest $850 million to revamp some operations in Michigan. That means new jobs in a state with the nation's second-highest unemployment rate.

Here's Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton.

TRACY SAMILTON: Over the past five difficult years, Ford Motor Company shrank its Michigan workforce by about 30 percent. Now the company is on the other side of the restructuring, announcing investments that will create 300 new white collar jobs and 900 new blue collars jobs.

Ford's Mark Fields says, simply: It's a good day.

Mr. MARK FIELDS (Ford Motor Company): This is good news for Ford. It's great news for the state of Michigan, obviously, given the last number of years. And our plan has always been pretty simple, our One Ford plan, which is, you know, profitable growth for all.

SAMILTON: Sean McAlinden is an analyst with the Center for Automotive Research. He says he wouldn't be surprised to see more Ford jobs in Michigan on the horizon, and he says that's because it makes good business sense to focus employment in one region.

Mr. SEAN MCALINDEN (Analyst, Center for Automotive Research): So this is more solid growth than boom or bust in the past, because it's based on just efficiency. This is the best kind of jobs to have: jobs that are for sure.

SAMILTON: But the deal isn't a freebie for the state. Michigan is offering Ford $400 million in tax breaks over 15 years. With those in hand, Ford will soon start to hire more Michigan workers again.

For NPR News, I'm Tracy Samilton in Ann Arbor.

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