By Jonathan Stempel and Eva Mathews
Jun 23 (.) – Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has announced his resignation as trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, having donated half of his wealth to charities that he committed to 15 years ago at the helm of his Berkshire company Hathaway Inc.
Buffett, 90, said in a statement Wednesday that he has been an “inactive member” for years at the foundation, but fully supported its chief executive, Mark Suzman, and that their goals were “100% in sync.”
The investor announced a new donation of $ 4.1 billion in Berkshire stock to the Gates Foundation and four family-controlled charities, as part of his sealed commitment in 2006 to donate about 99% of his net worth.
The future of the Gates Foundation has been uncertain following the announcement last month that co-founders Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates were divorcing after 27 years of marriage.
Founded in 2000, the nonprofit focuses on fighting poverty, disease and inequity, and has disbursed $ 54.8 billion in its first two decades. He receives approximately four-fifths of Buffett’s annual charitable donations.
The foundation did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Buffett did not mention the Gates’ divorce as a reason for his departure, although he noted that he has resigned from all management positions outside of Berkshire, reducing his workload.
Buffett, arguably the world’s most famous investor, has since 1965 turned Berkshire into a more than $ 600 billion conglomerate, running businesses like the railroad network BNSF and auto insurer Geico, to which he they add investments in large companies such as Apple Inc ..
“Over many decades, I have accumulated an almost incomprehensible sum simply by doing what I love,” Buffett said. “Society has a use for my money, I don’t,” he declared.
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Wednesday’s donations also go to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, named for Buffett’s late first wife, and charities run by Buffett’s children – Howard, Susan and Peter – the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Sherwood Foundation. and the Novo Foundation.
Buffett has assured his children that they will continue to receive contributions. “A very wealthy person should leave their children enough to do anything, but not enough to do nothing,” he told Fortune magazine in 2006.
If Buffett had not made his donations, his fortune would be roughly equal to that of Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos, the richest person in the world, according to Forbes magazine.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York and Eva Mathews in Bengaluru. Edited in Spanish by Marion Giraldo)