The divorce between Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates could cause the leadership of their charitable foundation to fracture if the former couple are unable to work together, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman said on Wednesday that the organization has decided on a contingency plan "to ensure the continuity of the foundation's work."
"If after two years either decides they cannot continue to work together as co-chairs, French Gates will resign her position as co-chair and trustee," he added.
Suzman said that if that happened, Bill Gates would essentially be buying out Melinda French Gates, who would get "personal resources" that would be "completely separate from the foundation's endowment" for her own charity work in return.
"I believe deeply in the foundation's mission and remain fully committed as co-chair to its work," she said in a statement to the Journal.
Suzman noted to the newspaper that "Even in the last two months they've been working together very successfully with me and the executive leadership team."
He added in a letter to the foundation's employees that "clearly they will need to be people with strong, independent, credible points of view and perspectives" to take part in strategy discussions and further the organization's "understanding of the foundation's roles and responsibilities in the wider world at a time there is greater scrutiny and discussion about the appropriate role of philanthropy."
French Gates is the co-chair of the company Pivotal Ventures and in 2019 she announced a $1 billion investment in gender equality to be spread over 10 years.
"The world has been fighting for gender equality for decades, but progress has been slow," Ms. French Gates said in a statement before giving a speech in Paris on Wednesday, according to the Journal.
In comments to the Journal, Suzman described the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as "their fourth child," and said that gender equality "is an issue which has been growing and growing in importance for" the organization.
The foundation recently lost a major investor, billionaire Warren Buffett, who announced his resignation as a trustee last month.
"My goals are 100% in sync with those of the foundation, and my physical participation is in no way needed to achieve these goals," he wrote in a statement.
Theodore Bunker ✉
Theodore Bunker, a Newsmax writer, has more than a decade covering news, media, and politics.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.