Warren Buffett is known as one of the most quotable people in the the world of business. His witty asides are a big part of what has made his annual letters to shareholders legendary.
But it's unusual for him to rip into an individual. That's exactly what he did on Tuesday, and he couldn't have picked a better target: Bank of America's (BAC) CEO Ken Lewis.
Speaking at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit in San Diego, Buffet referred to Lewis as the "ironic hero" of last September's financial meltdown, whose foolish decision to buy Merrill Lynch at an inflated price saved the global economy -- while also torpedoing his shareholders.
Fortune's Colin Barr reports that "the emphasis was on ironic. Buffett's comments portray Lewis as a sort of Mr. Magoo of global finance, bumbling into trouble in stubborn pursuit of banking greatness -- and unintentionally saving the world in the process."
It's nice to see Warren Buffett joining the "Ken Lewis is an idiot" pile-on. And while most universally vilified corporate figures probably aren't as bad as they're portrayed in the media, Ken Lewis just may be.
But here's a question for Bank of America's board of directors: when the nicest thing that the smartest investor in the world can say about your CEO is that he's ironic, isn't it time to find someone new?
Warren Buffett gently knocks Ken Lewis