Warren Buffett resigns as trustee of Gates Foundation

National and World

Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, smiles as he plays bridge following the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha, Neb. in 2019. Warren Buffett made a $4.1 billion annual philanthropic contribution and said he’s halfway through his goal of giving away most of his money. The billionaire investor also said he is stepping down as trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as he exits all other corporate boards. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Warren Buffett is resigning as a trustee from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The announcement comes weeks after Bill and Melinda Gates announced that they were divorcing after 27 years of marriage but would continue to jointly run the foundation, one of the largest charitable foundations in the world. Gates was formerly the world’s richest person and his fortune is estimated at well over $100 billion.

“For years I have been a trustee – an inactive trustee at that – of only one recipient of my funds, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMG). I am now resigning from that post, just as I have done at all corporate boards other than Berkshire’s,” Buffett said in a prepared statement Wednesday. “The CEO of BMG is Mark Suzman, an outstanding recent selection who has my full support. My goals are 100% in sync with those of the foundation, and my physical participation is in no way needed to achieve these goals.”

Buffett, the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, also said Wednesday that he is halfway to reaching his goal of giving away the entirety of his shares in the conglomerate, and that he’s making another $4.1 billion in donations.

Buffett gave no reason for stepping down from the Gates Foundation, but questions have been raised about the structure of its leadership after reports of Bill Gates’ behavior in the workplace.

It was recently revealed that board members at Microsoft Corp. made a decision in 2020 that it wasn’t appropriate for Gates, the company’s co-founder, to sit on its board as they investigated the billionaire’s prior romantic relationship with a female Microsoft employee that was deemed inappropriate.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has said that it is not investigating the allegations in the media, as the reported incident involving one of the world’s largest, most influential nonprofits was made by “an anonymous former employee.”

Buffett, now 90, has in recent years resigned from all other corporate boards outside of Berkshire Hathaway, but he has said he has no plans to step down from his role as CEO of Berkshire. Earlier this year, Berkshire identified the executive who will one day take over as the company’s CEO when Buffett is gone, but he isn’t retiring.

Buffett said Wednesday while he still loves his job, “I’m clearly playing in a game that, for me, has moved past the fourth quarter and into overtime.”

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