The American multi-billionaire Warren Buffett announced on Wednesday that he was stepping down from all functions within the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, while continuing to contribute financially.
The 90-year-old businessman explains in a press release that he had been an “inactive director” for years in this charity and had already given up this post on all the other boards of which he had been a member, except that of his Berkshire Hathaway business.
He does not give any further explanation for his departure, which comes a few weeks after the news of Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce was announced.
Mr. Buffett, whose fortune is estimated by Forbes magazine at around 104 billion dollars, however plans to continue to provide funding.
“My goals are 100% in line with those of the foundation and my physical participation is in no way necessary to achieve these goals,” he said.
Established in 2000, the foundation has grown over the years to become the most powerful private charity in the world, having funded various projects totaling $ 53.8 billion.
Mr. Buffett had committed in 2006 to distribute all of his Berkshire shares, or 99% of his fortune, to philanthropic actions.
With its annual contribution unveiled Wednesday – the equivalent of $ 4.1 billion to 5 charities – “I’m halfway” of this goal, he said.
At the head of Berkshire Hathaway, which oversees some 60 companies ranging from insurer Geico to battery maker Duracell, Buffett said in May that he planned to name Greg Abel as his successor when he leaves office. But he didn’t say when that would happen.
Bill Gates, the ex-boss of Microsoft and close friend of Mr. Buffett, has seen his image tarnished by revelations following his divorce after 27 years together with Melinda.
His links with the financier Jeffrey Epstein, accused of sexual abuse of dozens of minors in his luxurious residences before being found hanged in his cell in August 2019, have in particular been highlighted.