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Melinda Gates to leave Gates Foundation, getting $12.5 billion

Melinda Gates is stepping down from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Melinda Gates is stepping down from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - Copyright AFP/File Ludovic MARIN
Melinda Gates is stepping down from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - Copyright AFP/File Ludovic MARIN

Melinda French Gates announced Monday she was leaving the philanthropy mega foundation she established with her ex-husband, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

The resignation, which becomes effective on June 7, will leave Bill Gates as the sole chair of one of the world’s most influential and powerful non-governmental organizations.

“After careful thought and reflection, I have decided to resign from my role as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” Melinda French Gates wrote in a statement posted on social media.

The statement gave no reason for her departure, but noted that “under the terms of my agreement with Bill, in leaving the foundation, I will have an additional $12.5 billion to commit to my work on behalf of women and families.”

The couple married in 1994, but announced their divorce in 2021.

They had continued to co-chair the foundation which they established in 2001 with the vast wealth acquired through the success of Microsoft.

With a focus on child poverty and preventable diseases, the foundation has been heavily involved fighting malaria and in providing toilets and sanitation in poorer parts of the world.

The foundation’s website says it has spent $53.8 billion since 2000, and claims the number of children around the world who die before their fifth birthday has halved in this time.

Bill Gates thanked his ex-wife for her “critical contributions” to the organization.

“As a co-founder and co-chair Melinda has been instrumental in shaping our strategies and initiatives, significantly impacting global health and gender equality,” he said.

“I am sorry to see Melinda leave, but I am sure she will have a huge impact in her future philanthropic work.”

The organization’s chief executive, Mark Suzman, said its name would change to simply the Gates Foundation — it has been known as The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“I truly admire Melinda, and the critical role she has played in starting the foundation and in setting our values, she has played an essential role in all that we’ve accomplished over the past 24 years,” he said in a video posted to social media.

“I will miss working with her and learning from her. I look forward to seeing her continued impact.”

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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