Bill, Melinda to Do 2 Years at Foundation, Then Decide

If it's not working, Bill will essentially buy his ex-wife out
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2021 12:17 PM CDT
Bill, Melinda to Do 2 Years at Foundation, Then Decide
Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates will continue to work together as co-chairs of their foundation even after their planned divorce.   (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu, Pool)

Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates are divorcing, but they'll remain together at the helm of their foundation for at least two years—at which point there is an out. Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman on Wednesday put it like so: "They have agreed that if after two years either one of them decides that they cannot continue to work together, Melinda will resign as co-chair and trustee" and "would receive personal resources from Bill for her philanthropic work" that are not tied to the foundation’s endowment. As the New York Times puts it, under this scenario Bill "essentially buys his ex-wife out of the foundation." Suzman said he was unaware of what that payout would be.

Suzman also announced that new trustees would be added, and that they would hail from places outside of the former couple's close circle. Those trustees won't be announced until January, and no specifics were given regarding the number to be added or any candidates who are potentially being considered. The AP notes the current board of trustees is made up only of Gates and French Gates; Warren Buffett resigned his position as third trustee in June. As for the foundation's endowment, it'll be pumped up. The Wall Street Journal reports Gates and French Gates will add $15 billion to the current endowment of $49.9 billion; it's their biggest single contribution since 2000. (More Bill Gates stories.)

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