Warren Buffett said Greg Abel, Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman of non-insurance businesses, would likely succeed him as chief executive if the billionaire investor were to step down, CNN Business said Tuesday.

Buffett built Berkshire Hathaway from a limping textile manufacturer into a $630 billion investment powerhouse.

"The directors are in agreement that if something were to happen to me tonight, it would be Greg who'd take over tomorrow morning," CNBC quoted Buffett as saying.

The "Oracle of Omaha" praised Abel and Vice Chairman Ajit Jain, who runs all of Berkshire's insurance operations.

"They're both wonderful guys," Buffet said.

Abel has long been considered one of the two executives likely to take Buffett's place, along with Jain. Both are vice chairmen of Berkshire, along with 97-year old, Charlie Munger.

"Greg will keep the culture," Munger said, when answering questions about Berkshire's decentralised business structure.

Succession decisions in the conglomerate had been a closely guarded secret, even while the company assured investors it had a set in place a detailed plan.

Although he is 90 years old, Buffett has given no signs he plans to step down.

The question of who would succeed him has been a source of speculation for more than 15 years.

For years, many assumed Buffett's successor would be David Sokol, who ran MidAmerican Energy.

Buffett is arguably the most successful investor in the world.

Berkshire Hathaway owns more than 60 companies, including restaurant chain Dairy Queen, battery-maker Duracell, and insurance company Geico.