Can Bill Gates fire Melinda from Gates foundation? Charity reveals bizarre option for its future

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation made a bizarre announcement on its future, if the former spouses and co-founder do not get along post divorce

                            Can Bill Gates fire Melinda from Gates foundation? Charity reveals bizarre option for its future
Melinda Gates and Bill Gates (Brian Ach/Getty Images)

Bill and Melinda Gates shocked the world when they announced their divorce in May 2021. Ending the 27-year-long marriage had massive repercussions not just for the duo's wealth, but also their famous charity The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. On July 7, the charity made a shocking announcement about its future, indicating that it is making preparations for a future without Melinda if Bill desires.

The shocking and scandalous falling out of Bill and Melinda has stirred trouble in various areas. In May, we reported that the couple's three children were "reportedly very angry at Bill" and had chosen to support their mother. The charity has suffered consequences already. In late June, billionaire investor Warren Buffet announced he would resign from the foundation, where he served as a trustee. 


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The fallout reportedly stems from Bill's "womanizer" attitude, which was until recently covered up. On May 10, journalist James Wallace opened up about the early days of Microsoft, where Bill reportedly had naked parties with strippers. Then, there's also the infamous connection to pedophile Jeffery Epstein, which rocked the world when it came out. The consequences have been severe for the duo's personal life, but also for the foundation. It appears the charity is already at work preparing for the future if Bill and Melinda do not get along.

A pedestrian walks by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on May 4, 2021, in Seattle, Washington. (David Ryder/Getty Images)


Can Bill fire Melinda?

When they announced their divorce, the duo promised to remain on as co-chairs of one of the world's most famous and richest charities. However, it appears cracks are already emerging, even though the divorce is yet to be finalized. To prepare for a future where the two cannot get along, the foundation announced a bizarre new change - that Bill would be able to buy out Melinda and fire her from the foundation.

On July 7, the foundation announced that the option existed, albeit with a twist. Bill will only get the option to fire Melinda after two years if they cannot cooperate. Currently, Melinda serves as co-chair and trustee at the charity, but she can be bought out after the trial period. If that happens, Melinda would receive resources from Bill to do her own philanthropic work. Those resources received would be independent of the charity's endowment. The agreement was made public so that they could be "transparent" with each other. 

In order to "ensure the continuity of the foundation’s work", the power-sharing agreement was made by the two. It is unclear if the foundation will change its name should Melinda leave, but that does seem likely. However, this is being seen as a last-ditch effort, in case all else fails. The foundation's CEO Mark Suzman told Associated Press "They’ve both assured me, individually and together, and in the way, they’ve been showing up in the work for the last two months, that their full intent and commitment is to be long-term co-chairs trustees of the foundation. And that’s exactly what we’re planning around." 

Bill Gates and Melinda Gates attend a ceremony presenting them with the 2010 J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding at the Library of Congress on October 15, 2010, in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

But why is it that Melinda will leave and not Bill? Author David Callahan told AP it was because "it’s hard to imagine Bill Gates starting his own thing outside the Gates Foundation because much of what he’s interested in is what the Gates Foundation does." He added, "You could easily imagine her (Melinda) going off and starting a new philanthropic enterprise that’s focused on gender equity and women’s empowerment."

The two-year trial period was among the numerous announcements made by the foundations in a statement on its website. Other changes include expanding the number of trustees to "further enhance the diversity, experience, and expertise of the foundation’s leadership." The duo also announced an additional $15 billion to the foundation's endowment. "These new resources and the evolution of the foundation’s governance will sustain this ambitious mission and vital work for years to come," Bill said.