Warren Buffett and Jack Welch had a bizarre exchange on CNBC Monday morning in which the Oracle of Omaha praised Welch's prowess as a salesman of purple shoes.
The mystery is now solved, sort of.
In a short email to CNNMoney late Tuesday, Buffett explained that Welch was "one helluva shoe salesman" when he worked for Thom McAn. The Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) (BRKB) CEO said Welch, a former chief executive of General Electric (GE), was especially adept at selling "the purple variety" of shoes. But unless Welch explains further, we may never know the punch line to this very inside joke.
Here is the email in its entirety:
Jack Welch and I are both good friends of Frank Rooney, Chairman of H. H. Brown. Frank had his 90th birthday about a year ago and Jack told a story about how he started at a Thom McAn shoe store. He had everybody roaring with laughter as he described how he sold the shoes with the highest commission. Jack did not realize I was referencing that story when I called in on the phone – I'm sure my call hit him by surprise. Jack called me after the show as he then realized what I had been referencing. It's too bad Jack didn't get a chance to tell the story on CNBC, as he would have had everybody rolling in the aisles. He was one helluva shoe salesman (particularly the purple variety).
Shares of General Electric (GE) rose 1% Friday and hit a 52-week high. The stock is now up nearly 30% this year, making it the third-best performer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average for 2012. Only Bank of America (BAC) and Walt Disney (DIS) have done better.
Yet, there was little chatter about GE's earnings, valuation or the performance of its various industrial, health care and aerospace units Friday. Instead, most MOREPaul R. La Monica - Oct 5, 2012 12:49 PM ET