American business tycoon and billionaire investor Warren Buffett on Wednesday announced his resignation as a trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMG).
“For years I have been a trustee – an inactive trustee at that – of only one recipient of my funds, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. I am now resigning from that post, just as I have done at all corporate boards other than Berkshire’s,” Buffett said in a statement.
Buffet said he will donate $4.1 billion worth of Berkshire Hathaway shares to five foundations.
“Today is a milestone for me. In 2006, I pledged to distribute all of my Berkshire Hathaway shares – more than 99% of my net worth – to philanthropy. With today’s $4.1 billion distribution, I’m halfway there. In June of 2006, I owned 474,998 “A” shares. Now, I own 238,624 shares, worth about $100 billion.
“After 16 years of pursuing my philanthropic plan, I’m delighted with its workings. Each of the five foundations set its own course and the leaders of all five work hard and effectively. My own involvement has essentially been nil, which leaves me to do what I love.
“The CEO of BMG is Mark Suzman, an outstanding recent selection who has my full support. My goals are 100% in sync with those of the foundation, and my physical participation is in no way needed to achieve these goals.”
Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, co-founders of the foundation, filed for divorce in May after 27 years of marriage but pledged to continue their philanthropic work together.
The 21-year-old foundation has become one of the most powerful and influential forces in global public health, spending more than $50 billion over the past two decades to bring a business approach to combating poverty and disease.
Last year, Buffett reported donating more than $2 billion of stock in his investment vehicle, Berkshire Hathaway Inc, to the Gates Foundation as part of previously announced plans to give away his entire fortune before his death. The 90-year-old also said he was pledging $4.1 billion to philanthropy.