Following the resignation of Berkshire Hathaway billionaire Warren Buffett‘s chief lieutenant, David Sokol, the leadership at MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. has appointed CEO Greg Abel chairman. Buffett said the conglomerate had been very successful in recent years in large part because of Sokol, calling his accomplishments “extraordinary,” and adding that Sokol and Abel “delivered the best performance of any managers in the public utility field.” Buffett stirred up Wall Street after the markets had closed Wednesday with the announcement that Sokol had submitted his resignation to strengthen his family’s financial resources. Buffett accepted the resignation, although twice in the past few years he and the Berkshire board had talked Sokol out of resigning. The resignation followed Berkshire’s March 13 announcement that it was buying specialty chemicals firm Lubrizol on the recommendation of Sokol, who purchased nearly 100,000 shares of the company for about $10 million earlier this year. Buffett said he learned about Sokol’s stock purchase March 19. While the stock purchase raised eyebrows on Wall Street, Sokol maintained that he had done nothing wrong regarding the Lubrizol acquisition — but told CNBC that if he had it to do over again, he would do things a bit differently. According to Buffett, before he overcame his skepticism and embraced the Lubrizol deal, he was leaning toward an acquisition by MidAmerican, which includes MidAmerican Energy Co., Kern River Gas Transmission Co., Northern Natural Gas, PacifiCorp, CE Electric UK and CalEnergy Generation.

The Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, which was formed by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and tasked with reporting back to the governor by July, at its first meeting formed four work groups to study separate topics: public health, safety and environmental protection (to be chaired by Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) acting secretary Michael Krancer); economic and workforce development (chaired by Alan Walker, acting secretary of Community and Economic Development); infrastructure (chaired by Barry Schoch, acting secretary of Transportation); and local impacts and emergency response (chaired by Glenn Cannon, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency). The work groups will meet separately and report back to the full commission at its next meeting, which is scheduled for April 27. The commission’s report is due back to Corbett 120 days after its inaugural meeting.

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