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Warren Buffett resigns from Gates Foundation, has donated half his fortune

Stock MarketsJun 23, 2021 05:02PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, pauses while playing bridge as part of the company annual meeting weekend in Omaha, Nebraska U.S. May 6, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking 2/2

By Jonathan Stempel and Eva Mathews

(Reuters) -Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said he is resigning as a trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and has donated half his wealth to philanthropy since pledging 15 years ago to give away his fortune from running Berkshire Hathaway Inc . (NYSE:BRKa)

Buffett, 90, said in a Wednesday statement he has been an "inactive trustee" for years at the foundation, but fully supported Chief Executive Mark Suzman and that their goals were "100% in sync."

He did not explain why he is resigning, while noting he has given up all directorships outside Berkshire, reducing his workload.

Buffett also announced a new donation of more than $4.1 billion, comprising nearly 15.2 million Berkshire Class "B" shares, to the Gates Foundation and four family charities, part of his pledge to give away 99% of his net worth.

He has since 2006 donated more than $41.5 billion of Berkshire shares, including $32.7 billion to the Gates Foundation. The overall total is now equivalent to about $100 billion because Berkshire's stock price has risen.

"Over many decades I have accumulated an almost incomprehensible sum simply by doing what I love to do," Buffett said. "Society has a use for my money: I don't."

Founded in 2000, the Gates Foundation focuses on combating poverty, disease and inequity, spending $54.8 billion in its first two decades.

Its future has been uncertain since its namesake co-founders said last month they were divorcing after 27 years of marriage.

Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT) later said it had reviewed an accusation that Bill Gates had tried in 2000 to have an intimate relationship with an employee.

GOVERNANCE COMMITMENT

In an email to Gates Foundation employees, Suzman said he has discussed with Buffett and the Gateses how to strengthen governance and decisionmaking, and planned to share more information in July.

"I am fully committed to following [Buffett's] guidance to ensure we are the best possible stewards of his, Bill, and Melinda's resources," Suzman said.

In statements released by the foundation, Bill Gates said he was grateful for his "enduring friendship" with Buffett and that "we will always have a deep sense of accountability" to him, while Melinda French Gates said Buffett's teachings will help "chart 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 for his late first wife, and charities run by his children Howard, Susan and Peter: the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Sherwood Foundation and the Novo Foundation.

Had Buffett not made his donations, his fortune would roughly equal that of Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos, the world's richest person according to Forbes magazine.

Bill Gates and Buffett also pioneered "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 at least half their fortunes to philanthropy.

NO 'SWAN SONG'

Buffett has since 1965 built Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire into a more than $600 billion conglomerate, owning businesses such as the BNSF railroad and Geico auto insurance, and stocks such as Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL).

He still holds 31.5% of Berkshire's voting power, even after the donations.

Buffett's statement on Wednesday also addressed recent criticism after a ProPublica investigation included him among wealthy people who paid low taxes.

Buffett said his donations have resulted in only about 40 cents of tax savings per $1,000 given.

"Nevertheless, tax deductions are important to many - particularly to the super-rich - who give large amounts of cash or securities to philanthropy," he said.

Buffett also used references to American football to assure fans he has no plans to step away, including from Berkshire.

"These remarks are no swan song," he said. "I still relish being on the field and carrying the ball. But I'm clearly playing in a game that, for me, has moved past the fourth quarter into overtime."

Warren Buffett resigns from Gates Foundation, has donated half his fortune
 

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Comments (9)
Roger Pruzansky
Roger Pruzansky Jun 24, 2021 4:03AM ET
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Anglo Saxton mission g search that and understand about c18 and China how long ago they planed
Hung Pham
Hung Pham Jun 24, 2021 2:43AM ET
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Why do evil people like him live so long
Sean Livingstone
Sean Livingstone Jun 23, 2021 6:52PM ET
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The world is controlled by the few, and you and I, regardless of your party affiliation, are not in it. Stop attacking one another, these rich folks want us to fight so they continue to take our money. Take this country back from these corrupted people.
Alberto Vazquez
Alberto Vazquez Jun 23, 2021 2:11PM ET
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More money to contribute to the depopulation of the world. There you go Bill. Have fun.
Manish Purohit
Manish Purohit Jun 23, 2021 1:14PM ET
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Rich propegenda ...and nothing else ...we never see Gates foundation charity help tompeople
Saroop Calvete
Saroop Calvete Jun 23, 2021 9:11AM ET
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Warren: I pay for the sterilization, sorry, the vaccination of the world's population, with my pal Lolito Gates.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Jun 23, 2021 9:11AM ET
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I see you forgot to take your happy pills again this morning...
Saroop Calvete
Saroop Calvete Jun 23, 2021 9:11AM ET
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Tre Hsi  the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation is a quiet but massive financial supporter of pro *****activities and population control policies.
Felipe Cardona
Felipe Cardona Jun 23, 2021 9:11AM ET
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Youre such a Calvete
Fomo Yolo
Fomo Yolo Jun 23, 2021 8:44AM ET
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what about nanorobots in the covid shot, right guuuyyyssssss?
Rick Baier
Rick Baier Jun 23, 2021 8:30AM ET
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Felipe, Yeah there's a reason him and the wife seperated.
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Jun 23, 2021 8:30AM ET
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Agree. Bill is invested in NBC reason why he appears so often on CNBC and is never asked serious questions.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Jun 23, 2021 8:30AM ET
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Felipe Daniel  by that "logic", Donald Trump must be the second biggest shareholder in NewsCorp since he appeared so often he was nearly a cohost in Fox and Friends last year
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Jun 23, 2021 8:30AM ET
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Tre Hsi Gates ownership of NBC is factual
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Jun 23, 2021 8:07AM ET
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Too much talk about Gates ties to Jeffrey Epstein. The media chooses to ignore Bill went to Epstein’s island many times and wanted to “collaborate” on depopulation!
 
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