Bill and Melinda Gates to separate after 27 years of marriage
They will continue to work together at their non-profit foundation, statement says
Bill and Melinda Gates. File photograph: Scott Olson/Getty
Bill and Melinda Gates. File photograph: Julien de Rosa/EPA
Bill and Melinda Gates have announced that they are ending their marriage.
The Microsoft co-founder and his wife, who launched the world’s largest charitable foundation, said they would continue to work together at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
In identical tweets, they said they had made the decision to end their marriage of 27 years. “We have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives,” they said in a statement.
“We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”
Last year, Mr Gates, formerly the world’s richest person, said he was stepping down from Microsoft’s board to focus on philanthropy.
Mr Gates was Microsoft’s chief executive until 2000, and since then has gradually scaled back his involvement in the company he started with Paul Allen in 1975.
He transitioned out of a day-to-day role in Microsoft in 2008 and served as chairman of the board until 2014.
Launched in 2000, the non-profit Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ranks as the largest private philanthropic foundation in the United States and one of the world’s biggest, with net assets of €34.5 billion at the end of 2019, according to the latest full-year financials shown on its website.
From 1994 through 2018, the couple gifted more than €28 billion to the Seattle-based foundation, the website said.
The foundation has become one of the most powerful and influential forces in global public health, spending more than €40 billion over the past two decades to bring a business approach to combating poverty and disease.
The Gates have backed widely praised programmes in malaria and polio eradication, child nutrition and vaccines. The foundation last year committed some €1.4 billion to COVID-19 relief.
Last year, investor Warren Buffett reported donating more than €1.6 billion of stock from his Berkshire Hathaway Inc to the Gates Foundation as part of previously announced plans to give away his entire fortune before his death.
In a statement, the Gates Foundation said the couple will remain as co-chairs and trustees of the organisation.
“They will continue to work together to shape and approve foundation strategies, advocate for the foundation’s issues, and set the organisation’s overall direction,” it said. - AP/Reuter