Warren Buffett resigns as Gates Foundation trustee

Warren Buffett is leaving the Gates Foundation’s board of directors, casting more uncertainty over the world’s largest private charitable organization after its co-chairs, Bill and Melinda Gates, announced they were splitting.

Buffett, the legendary American investor and head of Berkshire Hathaway, became a trustee of the foundation, along with his friends the Gates, after he announced in 2006 that he would donate the bulk of his fortune to charity.

“Years ago I was a trustee – an inactive trustee at the time – to only one recipient of my money, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMG). I am now resigning from this position, just as I have done on all corporate boards of directors,” Buffett said in a statement on Wednesday. Other than the Berkshire Board of Directors.

He also praised the foundation’s CEO, Mark Susman, as “fantastic” and said his goals remained “100 percent aligned with those of the foundation.”

With an endowment of $50 billion, the Gates Foundation is not only the largest private charitable group, but also the most influential. The enormous wealth that Bill Gates accumulated as a co-founder of Microsoft has been directed towards campaigns to eradicate diseases such as polio and reduce child mortality. Long-term work on Vaccines Make it a key player in the fight against the Corona virus.

But her future came into question after the Gates announced in early May that they would be The end Their marriage is 27 years. In a statement issued at the time, they insisted they remained committed to the foundation’s mission and would “continue our work together at the foundation”.

Some former employees and consultants questioned whether the institution the couple had controlled throughout its 21-year existence could continue in its current state given the split between them. Others are convinced that he has built enough institutional muscle over the years to thrive in any event. The company now has more than 1,600 employees.

In addition to the Gates Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates pursue their separate charitable activities. In 2015, for example, Melinda launched an investment tool, Pivotal Ventures, which aims to support gender equality.

Susman, who was named CEO last year, confirmed earlier this month that the Gates family was Consider the possibility Addition of external members to the Board of Directors as part of ‘prudent planning for the future’.

In a note to staff Wednesday, he acknowledged the uncertainty raised by Buffett’s resignation. I know Warren’s departure raises questions about the foundation’s management. As I mentioned earlier, I have been actively discussing with him and Bill and Melinda approaches to strengthen our governance,” he wrote, promising more detail in July.

Susman also thanked Buffett for his latest contribution — a $3.2 billion gift announced Wednesday that will bring his total donation to the foundation to nearly $33 billion.

In the same note, Melinda said she was “grateful for Warren’s generosity, leadership, and friendship,” while Bell praised his “enduring friendship” and said the foundation would “always have a deep sense of accountability to Warren, and the money paid close attention to data to track our progress and identify areas where we could improve.” the performance “.

Phil Buchanan, president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, questioned the timing of Buffett’s announcement, which is very close to the expected unveiling of further changes to governance, saying: “In an ideal world, you would announce some new additions to the board at the same time you announced It’s about a big departure but the world isn’t always perfect.”

Buchanan also thought about the broader importance of any shifts in an institution that had become so dominant in philanthropy and public health.

“As the largest organization in the world, the management of the Gates Foundation is of fundamental importance in terms of sound decision making and a symbol of the signal it sends about corporate philanthropy, its oversight and accountability,” he said.

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