Warren Buffett has resigned as a trustee at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as the charity grapples with the turmoil created by the divorce of its namesake founders.
“My goals are 100% with the foundation,” Buffett, 90, said in a statement Wednesday. He also announced that he has reached the halfway point of donating all of his Berkshire Hathaway shares to charity.
Buffett has contributed more than $27 billion of his own money to charity over the past 15 years. She is one of three board members of the Gates Foundation, along with Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates, who announced last month that they were separating after 27 years of marriage. According to the foundation, Buffett has no involvement in the investment decisions of the endowment.
The foundation’s chief executive officer, Mark Suzman, told employees last month that he was in talks to strengthen “the foundation’s long-term stability and stability.”
“Suzman” is an excellent recent pick, which I fully support, not to mention divorce, Buffett said in the statement.
Three trustees is an unusually small number for an organization of its size. The Ford Foundation, which is about one-fifth the size of the Gates Foundation, has 15 members on its board. The Rockefeller Foundation, 10th in size, is no less than 12 at any one time.
Suzman said last month that no decisions had been made on what future steps needed to be taken, but added that Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates “reaffirmed their commitment to the Foundation and our mission.” We have continued to work together.”
Buffett and Bill Gates have been friends for a long time. Gates previously served on the board of Berkshire, Buffett’s group, and announced last year that he would step down from that position. The Berkshire CEO decided in 2006 to donate a substantial portion of his assets to the Gates foundation because the pair do a “much better job” at running the charity work that Buffett says he could.
Buffett’s note on Tuesday also addressed the tax cuts received by the charity. The billionaire investor has recently been criticized for paying little in taxes, according to an investigation by ProPublica using Internal Revenue Service data. Buffett reiterated that his $41 billion contribution to the five foundations only saved 40 cents per $1,000.
“That’s because I have relatively little income,” Buffett said in the statement. “My assets are deployed almost entirely in tax-paying businesses through my Berkshire stockholding, and Berkshire regularly reinvests income to further increase its production, employment and earnings. Income from other assets Allows me to live as I wish.”
He said it is “appropriate” for Congress to periodically review tax policy for charitable contributions.
Berkshire’s chairman and CEO Buffett said in 2006 that he would distribute all of his shares of the company to charity. He said in Wednesday’s statement that his recent distribution of $4.1 billion halved him to that goal.
“In June of 2006, I had 474,998 “A” shares. Now, I have 238,624 shares, worth about $100 billion,” he said, with all of them destined for charity.
“Please understand that these comments are not a swan song,” the billionaire investor said in the statement. “I still enjoy moving the ball on and off the field. But I’m clearly playing in a game that, for me, has gone from the fourth quarter to overtime.”