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50 People Who Matter 2011 | 22. Warren Buffett

Omaha god.

Known as the Oracle of Omaha for his stock-market knowhow, Warren Buffett is number three on this year's Forbes rich list. The 81-year-old Berkshire Hathaway chief executive has pledged to donate 99 per cent of his fortune to philanthropic causes, largely through the Gates Foundation. He sits on the board of trustees at the US liberal arts college Grinnell, and runs a legendary investment portfolio that includes the Coca-Cola Company, American Express, Walmart Stores and Procter & Gamble. More recently, the business magnate invested $230m in the Chinese electric car manufacturer BYD Auto. He is also known for his left-leaning views on taxation - recently he wrote a column in the New York Times calling for the wealthiest Americans to pay more tax.

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This article first appeared in the 26 September 2011 issue of the New Statesman, The fifty people who matter