The Chicago Journal

Gates Foundation Installs New Board Members After Bill and Melinda’s Divorce

Photo: FT

On Wednesday, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced four latest members to its board of trustees. This is the first time in two decades that outsiders were undertaken into the foundation’s board. 

The latest additions, a billionaire, a baroness and the Gates Foundation CEO included, are being installed partly to aid in boosting the charity’s governance following Bill and Melinda French Gates’ divorce the previous year. 

The Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman said in a letter that the latest installation will “provide additional input, strategic guidance, and fiduciary oversight to the foundation.” 

He added that the resolution “represents an explicit recognition by Bill and Melinda, especially in the wake of their divorce, that the foundation will be well served by the addition of strong, independent voices to help shape our governance.”

Besides Suzman, Strive Masiyiwa, Zimbabwean billionaire businessman and executive chairman of international technology group Econet Global; Baroness Nemat (Minouche) Shafik, London School of Economics director; Thomas Tierney, co-founder of nonprofit group Bridgespan and former Bain & Co. chief executive, are among the latest board members. 

Since the death of Bill Gates Sr. in 2020 and the departure of Warren Buffet after 15 years on the board in June 2021, there had been no trustees of the foundation apart from Bill and Melinda Gates. 

Buffet did not disclose his reasons for leaving the charity; however, he notably pointed out that he stepped down from all corporate boards except Berkshire Hathaway’s. 

The institution is considered one of the world’s most immense charitable foundations, backed by the former partner’s personal fortune, various more family foundations, and by Buffett’s leadership. 

Throughout the recent two decades, the foundation donated over $55 billion to initiatives such as gender equality, global health, poverty alleviation, and the worldwide distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

The foundation underwent critical observation following the news of the divorce and misconduct accusations versus Bill Gates concerning his days in the 2000s at Microsoft. Gates and his ex-wife revealed that a two-year hearing period will occur and they would co-manage their charity throughout that period. 

This contingency plan was set up “to ensure the continuity of the foundation’s work,” according to Suzman.