After a 27 year marriage, Bill Gates, 65 and co-founder of the behemoth software company Microsoft and Melinda Gates, 56, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have decided to part ways citing their union as “irretrievably broken.”
In a joint statement posted on each of their individual Twitter accounts, Bill and Melinda wrote:
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage.”
“We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in the next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life,” the statement further read.
With the intended divorce, what happens to their businesses and assets?
The divorce process ends up becoming an emotional drain for the parties involved. It has a way of shifting your focus from your company to its entire process which ranges from discussions with lawyers, collecting and providing documentation and relevant records.
This certainly will not be the case for the software company due to one major factor, Bill Gates no longer runs the day-to-day operations of the company.
Leading his software company since the ’80s, Bill Gates completed his tenure as CEO in 2000, ended his daily role in June of 2008, stepped down as chairman in February 2014, and relinquished his seat as a board member of the company. Despite his absence, Microsoft still flourishes.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
A conversation on the shores of Zanzibar will lead Bill and Melinda Gates to launch the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 in Seattle, USA. The foundation is mainly focused on health, climate change, and education.
In terms of assets and influence, the foundation is one of the most important philanthropic organizations in the world with an endowment worth nearly US$50 billion. The organization has issued close to US$55 billion in grants over the years.
Despite the split, Bill and Melinda have decided to still partner and push the agenda of their foundation forward.
“Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives,” a statement from both Bill and Melinda read. “We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation,…” the statement further read.
Moreover, the foundation, in a statement said that the Gates would remain co-chairs and trustees of the organization.
“They will continue to work together to shape and approve foundation strategies, advocate for the foundation’s issues, and set the organization’s overall direction,” the statement read.
Bill and Melinda Gates – Finances
According to Forbes World’s Billionaire List 2021, Bill Gates has an estimated net worth of US$124 billion positioning him as the 4th wealthiest person in the world. It is unlikely that the split may cause a RIF (Reduction in Force) of Gates’s financial standing.
Taking a cue from the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, and his wife Mackenzie Scott’s divorce in 2019. Despite having given out 25% of his shares worth US$36 billion to Mackenzie Scott, Jeff Bezos remains the richest man on earth.
That said, Bill Gates’s divorce may have little impact on his financial standing.
Moreover, although there are no details on how their finances are going to be structured, it is said that the couple was believed to have a prenuptial agreement in place.