Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said he is retiring as curator of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and has donated half of his fortune to philanthropy since promising 15 years ago to give away his fortune from running Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
Buffett, 90, said in a statement on Wednesday that he had been an “inactive curator” for years in the fund, but fully supported CEO Mark Suzman and that their goal was “100% synchronized.”
He did not explain why he was resigning, noting that he had resigned from all board positions outside Berkshire, which had reduced his workload.
Buffett also announced a new donation of more than $ 4.1 billion. $, Consisting of nearly 15.2 million Berkshire Class “B” shares, to the Gates Foundation and four charities, part of his promise to give away 99% of its net worth.
He has donated more than $ 41.5 billion of Berkshire shares since 2006, including $ 32.7 billion to the Gates Foundation. The total sum now corresponds to approx. 100 billion Dollars because Berkshire’s stock price has risen.
“Over many decades, I have amassed an almost incomprehensible amount simply by doing what I love to do,” Buffett said. “Society needs my money: I do not.”
Founded in 2000, the Gates Foundation focuses on fighting poverty, disease and inequality, spending $ 54.8 billion in the first two decades.
Its future has been uncertain as its nameplate co-founders last month said they were divorcing after 27 years of marriage.
Microsoft Corp. later said it had undergone an allegation that in 2000, Bill Gates had tried to have an intimate relationship with an employee.
Commitment to management
In an email to Gates Foundation employees, Suzman said he has discussed with Buffett and Gateses how to manage governance and decision-making, and plans to share more information in July.
“I am fully committed to following [Buffett’s] guidance to ensure we are the best possible managers of his, Bill and Melinda’s resources, ”said Suzman.
In statements from the Foundation, Bill Gates said he was grateful for his “lasting friendship” with Buffett and that “we will always have a deep sense of responsibility” towards him, while Melinda French Gates said Buffett’s teachings will help to “map a way forward.” Berkshire did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Buffett’s donations also go to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, named after his late first wife, and to charities run by his children Howard, Susan and Peter: the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Sherwood Foundation and the Novo Foundation.
If Buffett had not made his donations, his fortune would be roughly equal to Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, according to Forbes magazine.
Bill Gates and Buffett were also pioneers in “The Giving Pledge”, where more than 200 people like Michael Bloomberg, Larry Ellison, Carl Icahn, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal have committed to at least half of their fortunes to philanthropy.
No ‘swan song’
Since 1965, Buffett has built Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire, into a conglomerate of more than $ 600 billion, owning companies like the BNSF Railroad and Geico Car Insurance and stocks like Apple Inc.
He still has 31.5% of the Berkshires voting rights, even after the donations.
Buffett’s statement Wednesday also addressed the recent criticism after a ProPublica survey included him among wealthy people who paid low taxes.
Buffett said his donations have only resulted in about 40 cents tax savings per year. $ 1,000 given.
“Nevertheless, tax deductions are important for many – especially for the super-rich – who provide large amounts of cash or securities for philanthropy,” he said.
Buffett also used references to American football to assure fans he has no plans to step down, including from Berkshire.
“These remarks are not a swan song,” he said. “I still enjoy being on the field and carrying the ball. But I am definitely playing in a game that for me has gone past the fourth quarter for overtime. ”
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