Bill and Melinda Gates are getting divorced. The co-founder of the software company Microsoft and his wife announced in a joint statement on Twitter that they had decided to take this step “after careful consideration and a lot of work on our relationship”. The couple was married for 27 years. The split immediately raises questions about the future of the charitable foundation that 65-year-old Bill Gates and 56-year-old Melinda Gates co-chair on an equal footing. The opinion gives the impression that not too much should change.
Both continued to believe in the mission of the foundation and wanted to continue working together there. “But we no longer believe that we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our life,” it continued. The foundation itself did not want to make any further comments upon request.
The “Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation” is the largest private foundation in the world. It is worth roughly $ 50 billion and has spent nearly $ 55 billion on charity since it was founded in 2000. Her projects are primarily aimed at developing countries, where she tries, for example, to fight diseases such as malaria and polio and to help farmers achieve better harvests. She also got involved in the Corona crisis and promised a lot of money for the development of vaccines and drugs. Bill Gates in particular became the subject of many conspiracy theories in connection with this, for example that he wanted to implant people with microchips in the course of vaccinations.
Bill Gates was long the richest person in the world, his fortune was based on Microsoft. Today he ranks fourth on Forbes’ list of the richest people in the world, and his fortune is estimated at around $ 130 billion. In front of him are Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of the online retailer Amazon.com, and Elon Musk, the CEO of the electric car manufacturer Tesla and the space company Space X. Amazon boss Bezos himself announced his divorce a little more than two years ago , also on Twitter. MacKenzie Bezos, who is now called MacKenzie Scott, received a quarter of the shares previously held jointly by the couple in the course of the divorce. She has now made a name for herself as a benefactor and donated billions of dollars.
Popular interlocutors all over the world
Melinda Gates used to work at Microsoft herself. She started there in 1987 and worked her way up with determination. She met Bill shortly after joining the company when the two happened to be sitting next to each other at a business event. They described a joint trip to East Africa shortly after their engagement in 1993 as an important inspiration for their foundation work. This was actually intended as a fun trip with safaris, but it also brought them into contact with extreme poverty for the first time. While strolling on the beach in Zanzibar, the couple decided to do something about it with Bill’s Microsoft assets. The foundation was officially established in 2000 when Bill Gates began to cut corners at Microsoft. Melinda Gates had at the time put her own career in the company aside in favor of the family.
Bill Gates has focused almost entirely on his work in the foundation since 2008. With this charitable work, the public image of him has changed significantly. During his time at Microsoft, he was a controversial figure and was considered a merciless monopoly who uses ruthless methods to keep competition at bay. In his foundation work, he was initially assumed to have lower motives such as tax advantages, but he has now acquired credibility. Today, Bill and Melinda Gates are sought-after interlocutors for politicians around the world.
How the two will divide their assets after the divorce remains unclear at first. Both of them have often said, however, that they want the vast majority of their money to flow into their charitable activities and that only a comparatively small part is bequeathed to their children. The couple have three children, they are 18, 21 and 25 years old.