Warren Buffett resigns as trustee of the Gates Foundation – weeks after Bill and Melinda’s divorce

warren buffett
Warren Buffett.

  • Warren Buffett is resigning as a trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • Buffett is stepping down weeks after the Microsoft cofounder and his wife announced their divorce.
  • Buffett also hit the 50% milestone in giving away over 90% of his Berkshire Hathaway “A” shares.

Warren Buffett is resigning as a trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, weeks after the Microsoft cofounder and his wife announced their divorce.

“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),” the billionaire investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO said in a statement. “I am now resigning from that post, just as I have done at all corporate boards other than Berkshire’s.

“My goals are 100% in sync with those of the foundation, and my physical participation is in no way needed to achieve these goals,” he added.

Buffett disclosed his resignation in a statement highlighting the fact that he’s now given away 50% of his Berkshire “A” shares – a key milestone in his mission to donate over 99% of his wealth to good causes.

The investor pledged in 2006 to contribute virtually all of 474,998 “A” shares at the time to the Gates Foundation and four other foundations. Following his latest distribution of $4.1 billion of stock, he now owns 238,624 shares worth about $100 billion.

Along with Bill and Melinda, he has encouraged other billionaires to sign the “Giving Pledge” and commit to give at least 50% of their wealth to charity.

Buffett’s statement revealing his resignation also reflected on the challenges of giving effectively and his own thoughts about philanthropy. The release may have been partly inspired by the intense scrutiny he’s faced over the past couple of weeks after ProPublica, citing leaked tax returns, reported that he and other billionaires pay a tiny faction of their net worth in federal income taxes each year.

“The $41 billion of Berkshire shares I have donated to the five foundations has led to only about 40 cents of tax savings per $1,000 given,” Buffett said. “That’s because I have relatively little income. My wealth remains almost entirely deployed in tax-paying businesses that I own through my Berkshire stockholdings, and Berkshire regularly reinvests earnings to further grow its output, employment and earnings.”

“The income I receive from other assets allows me to live as I wish,” he added. “My needs are simple; what made me happy at 40 makes me happy at 90.”

Buffett also reiterated his famous advice for wealthy people pondering what to do with their money when they die.

“After much observation of super-wealthy families, here’s my recommendation: Leave the children enough so that they can do anything but not enough that they can do nothing,” he said.

This story is being updated…

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Bill Gates reportedly transferred another $850 million in shares to Melinda, taking total transfers since their divorce to nearly $4 billion

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Bill and Melinda Gates are divorcing after 27 years of marriage.

  • Bill Gates transferred $850 million in shares to Melinda French Gates last week, the Wall Street Journal reported.
  • The reported transfer of shares in the equipment manufacturer Deere equates to around 7% of Gates’ stake in the company.
  • French Gates has now received nearly $4 billion worth of stock from Gates since their divorce announcement.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Bill Gates has transferred $850 million more in shares to Melinda French Gates amid the couple’s divorce, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

The Microsoft co-founder transferred 2.25 million shares of equipment manufacturer Deere, brand name John Deere, to French Gates through his investment firm, Cascade Investment LLC, on Thursday, according to a securities filing seen by the Journal.

The total value of publicly disclosed transfers to French Gates now adds up to nearly $4 billion worth of stock since the pair announced their split, after 27 years of marriage, on May 3.

The reported Deere transfer equates to around 7% of Gates’s stake in the company.

Gates and Cascade Investment still owned nearly 29.3 million shares – 9.3% of the company – after the $850 million transfer to French Gates, the security filings said, per the Journal.

Cascade Investment didn’t immediately reply to Insider’s request for comment. The holding company also declined to comment beyond the filings to the Journal.

Insider reported on May 7 that three stocks worth a combined $3 billion were transferred to French Gates after the couple’s divorce announcement. These stocks included 2.9 million shares of automotive retailer AutoNation, 14.1 million shares of Canadian National Railway, and 293.5 million shares of media company Grupo Televisa.

Other stocks that French Gates could receive from Cascade Investment include Republic Services and Ecolab, which are heavily owned positions at the holding company.

The couple’s net worth is around $130.5 billion, according to Forbes.

The news of the Deere transfers comes two days after The New York Times reported that Gates pursued women at Microsoft while he was married to French Gates.

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Microsoft board members opened investigation into Bill Gates after a staffer said the pair had engaged in a sexual relationship: WSJ report

Bill Gates attends Global Champions Tour of Monaco at Port de Hercule on June 30, 2018 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.
Bill Gates attends Global Champions Tour of Monaco at Port de Hercule on June 30, 2018 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.

  • In 2019, the Microsoft board opened an investigation into a relationship between Bill Gates and a staffer, the Wall Street Journal reported.
  • The probe was opened after the employee alleged she had a sexual relationship with Gates.
  • A Gates spokesperson told The Journal “there was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Microsoft board members opened an investigation into Bill Gates in late 2019 after a female employee said she had a sexual relationship with him that spanned years, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

The board hired a law firm to conduct the investigation after the staffer came forward with the allegation, and in 2020 decided that Gates should step down from the board of directors. When Gates stepped down in March of 2020, he said it was to focus on “philanthropic priorities.”

In a statement provided to Insider, a Microsoft spokesperson said: “Microsoft received a concern in the latter half of 2019 that Bill Gates sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000.”

“A committee of the Board reviewed the concern, aided by an outside law firm to conduct a thorough investigation. Throughout the investigation, Microsoft provided extensive support to the employee who raised the concern,” the statement continued.

According to The Journal, a spokesperson for Gates said his decision to step down from the board was unrelated to the investigation into the relationship, but said “there was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably.”

The Journal’s report came the same day as a report from The New York Times that alleged Gates had pursued female employees at Microsoft and at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Times report also said Gates had been dismissive towards his wife, Melinda French Gates, during meetings at Microsoft.

The high-profile couple, which met while French Gates was a Microsoft employee, announced earlier this month they were divorcing after 27 years of marriage. They said they would continue to work together at their charitable foundation.

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Bill and Melinda Gates waited until their youngest daughter turned 18 before they announced divorce, reports say

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Bill and Melinda Gates are divorcing after 27 years of marriage.

  • Bill and Melinda Gates announced on Monday they were divorcing.
  • A source told People the timing related to their youngest daughter finishing high school.
  • They also said a “combo of things” led to the split rather than one main reason.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

New details have emerged about the timing of the divorce of one of the world’s richest couples, Bill and Melinda Gates.

The pair, who were married for 27 years and have three kids, lead a foundation focused on philanthropy, which has a $49.8 billion endowment.

It’s unclear what the main causes of the split were but People said a source revealed details about the timing.

The source told the outlet: “The decision to part ways appears seems to be linked to their youngest daughter, Phoebe, turning 18 years old. “It’s absolutely because their youngest child is graduating from high school, and the idea was that they stayed together through that.”

They added: “They limped through until their kids were out of school like a lot of people.”

The couple released a joint statement on Monday to announce their split.

“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage. Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives,” it said.

The couple’s eldest daughter Jennifer took to Instagram, following the announcement. “It’s been a challenging stretch of time for our whole family. I’m still learning how to best support my own process and emotions as well as my family members at this time and am grateful for the space to do so,” she wrote.

Asked whether the divorce will get more get disputatious, the source told People it is not likely.

Bill Gates, is worth $146 billion and is the fourth-richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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Melinda Gates calls her marriage to Bill ‘irretrievably broken’ in divorce filings and says the couple are already separated

Bill and Melinda Gates.
Bill and Melinda Gates.

  • Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce filings describe their marriage as “irretrievably broken.”
  • The couple on Monday said they planned to divorce after “a lot of work on our relationship.”
  • They first met at Microsoft in 1987 and have been married for 27 years.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Before their announcement Monday of their plans to get divorced, Bill and Melinda Gates had already separated, according to divorce filings shared by TMZ.

Melinda Gates officially filed for divorce on Monday, saying her 27-year marriage was “irretrievably broken.” Bill Gates is listed as respondent to the filings and signed the papers.

The couple announced the coming divorce in matching tweets posted to their personal Twitter accounts Monday. The tweets said the couple decided to end the marriage “after a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship.”

“We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives,” they added.

Read more: How the CEO of a Bill Gates-backed battery startup convinced the tech mogul to invest in his solid-state tech

But Melinda Gates used stronger words in the divorce filing, filed Monday in Washington state’s King County.

“This marriage is irretrievably broken,” she wrote as petitioner of the divorce filing, adding that the couple were separated.

In the divorce filings, she also said they did not have a prenup and asked for their real property, personal property, and debts to be split according to a separation contract they had drawn up. She did not ask for spousal support.

Bill Gates first met Melinda French in 1987 when she joined Microsoft as a product manager, though she said her mom didn’t think that seeing the CEO was a good idea at first.

The couple married in Hawaii in 1994 and moved into a lavish home, nicknamed Xanadu 2.0, in Medina, Washington. They had three children and set up the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation together.

In past interviews, they have praised both each other and their marriage. Melinda Gates told Insider in 2019 that her husband was “incredibly supportive” and had encouraged her to develop her career. She added that the couple still did the dishes together every night to keep the partnership equal.

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