Melinda French Gates to leave the Gates Foundation

By David Goldman | CNN

Melinda French Gates said Monday she would resign as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that she has helped lead since 2000.

As part of her separation agreement from former husband Bill Gates, French Gates said she will receive an additional $12.5 billion for her charitable work. French Gates said she plans to focus her giving on groups that focus on women and families.

“This is not a decision I came to lightly,” she said in a statement posted on X. “I am immensely proud of the foundation that Bill and I built together and of the extraordinary work it is doing to address inequities around the world.”

French Gates said she plans to leave the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on June 7, and she will share more about her future charitable plans in the near future.

The organization will change its name to the Gates Foundation, and Bill Gates will become the sole chair, the foundation’s CEO, Mark Suzman, announced on Monday.

“I am sorry to see Melinda leave, but I am sure she will have a huge impact in her future philanthropic work,” wrote Bill Gates in a separate statement Monday, also posted on X.

“Looking ahead, I remain fully committed to the Foundation’s work across all our strategies, and to realizing the opportunities we have to continue improving the lives of millions around the world,” he wrote.

French Gates’ exit had been telegraphed for several years. Bill Gates and French Gates announced their divorce in May 2021. They said at the time they would allow themselves a kind of trial period through 2023 to determine if they could continue working with one another to oversee their massive charitable foundation.

Suzman announced in July 2021 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,” Suzman said.

Gates will remain in control and, essentially, buy French Gates out of the foundation, Suzman said at the time. French Gates would receive “personal resources” from Gates for her own philanthropic work — resources that would be “completely separate from the foundation’s endowment.”

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