June 7, 2018 / 1:05 PM / 15 days ago

CEO to be named soon for Berkshire, Amazon, JPMorgan healthcare venture

(Reuters) - Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) within the next two weeks will likely name a chief executive for their joint venture aimed at lowering the cost of health care, billionaire investor Warren Buffett said in an interview aired on Thursday on CNBC.

FILE PHOTO: Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett plays bridge during the Berkshire annual meeting weekend in Omaha, Nebraska May 3, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Buffett, who is Berkshire Hathaway’s chairman, and JPMorgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said in the interview that they had selected a person for the healthcare venture’s top job.

Famed for his love of junk food, Buffett has described U.S. healthcare costs as a “tapeworm” on American businesses, hurting their ability to compete with rivals in other countries. Last month, he said the goal is to challenge the entire healthcare industry, not individual segments.

“We’ve basically reached agreement,” Buffett said. “We should have an announcement on that matter within maybe two weeks.”

While there is no guarantee the venture between Amazon.com, Berkshire and JPMorgan, which collectively employ more than 1 million people, will succeed in lowering costs, Buffett said it was well positioned to try.

“The resistance will be unbelievable, and if we fail, at least we tried,” Buffett said last month.

Amazon’s size and reputation as a disruptor prompted investors to sell shares of companies that might be hurt by the venture when it was announced in January.

These included drugmakers, health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), such as CVS Health Corp (CVS.N) and Express Scripts Holding Co (ESRX.O).

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Bill Berkrot

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