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Warren Buffett is stepping down as a trustee from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The billionaire said he has been an “inactive trustee” for years at the foundation, to which he contributes funds.

“I am now resigning from that post, just as I have done at all corporate boards other than Berkshire’s,” Mr. Buffett said in comments made in conjunction with his annual contribution of Berkshire Hathaway shares to five foundations.

Mr. Buffett’s move off the Gates Foundation board comes at an uncertain time for the organization after founders Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates announced their intention to divorce. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Mr. Gates and Ms. French Gates are discussing changes to the structure of their foundation to add more governance and independence following their announcement in May that they were ending their marriage.

The pair has led the Gates Foundation for two decades directing billions of dollars to more than two dozen areas, including polio eradication, infectious diseases, gender equality, U.S. education and agriculture development.

The Berkshire chairman and chief executive made the disclosure in a statement Wednesday detailing his thoughts on philanthropy, the government and the public. He also said he is giving away $4.1 billion of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shares to the five foundations.

Mr. Buffett had served as a trustee of the foundation since 2006. The Gates Foundation was one of five beneficiaries of Mr. Buffett’s largesse.

Mr. Buffett said he is now halfway through the pledge he made in 2006 to distribute all his Berkshire shares — more than 99% of his net worth — to philanthropy.

“Over many decades I have accumulated an almost incomprehensible sum simply by doing what I love to do,” Mr. Buffett said. “Compound interest, a long runway, wonderful associates and our incredible country have simply worked their magic.”

Mr. Buffett also said tax deductions are important, “particularly to the super-rich,” who give huge sums of cash or securities to philanthropy. His remark came after ProPublica, a nonprofit news organization, published details about the reported income and tax payments of some of the richest Americans, including Mr. Buffett and Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos.



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2021-06-23 15:24:00

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