The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is now just being called the Gates Foundation. That could be a sign of things to come. It’s very possible that Melinda French Gates could be removed from any duties within the foundation. Certainly one of the more difficult parts of their breakup aside from splitting billions of dollars was deciding what to do with the foundation.
Since their plans to divorce were announced the couple had made it clear that they planned to continue to work together. Now though there’s a contingency plan if they just can’t manage to be with one another.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) May 3, 2021
A Two Year Trial Run
Bill & Melinda have come to the agreement that if they are not able to continue to work together Melinda will step down from her post. This is what Mark Suzman, CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation wrote on the matter,
“They have repeatedly made clear their joint commitment and expectation to remain long-term partners and co-chairs,” Suzman went on to say, “However, as an additional step, 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.”
We Could Have Two Foundations Instead of One
The irony of the whole situation is that if the former couple cannot manage to work together the foundation is also essentially going to split in two. Suzman also mentioned that part of the deal if Melinda does decide to step down is that Bill has to put down the cash to fund the projects that she is passionate about. This would essentially mean that Melinda would go off on her own and form a new foundation. That would still be funded by Bill. On the funding of a new foundation, Suzman mentions,
“Melinda would receive personal resources from Bill for her philanthropic work. These resources would be completely separate from the foundation’s endowment, which would not be affected.”
All Quiet In The Legal Department
It’s been about a month and change now since we’ve gotten major updates from the legal situation regarding the divorce. The couple went public with their separation at the begging of May. From there it was reported that they had formally filed for divorce. It seems though that the couple is not waiting for the court to mandate how their fortune is going to be split up. Bill had reportedly already transferred a massive amount of money in stock options over to Melinda.
Bringing More People On Board
It’s not like Melinda would resign and leave all of the power to Bill. Although, if she were to step down right now that would actually be the case. The plan that the couple has is to expand the number of trustees on the board for the Foundation. Bill and Melinda are currently the only two left. After friend and fellow billionaire, Warren Buffet, stepped down last month. Being in the middle of someone else’s marital problems in your 90s is probably not something you want to be doing. The Gates breakup will likely remain a relevant topic for some time!