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Gates Foundation adds Strive Masiyiwa to new board

For the first time ever, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be governed by a board that includes people who are not named Gates or Buffett.

 

The foundation on Wednesday named the head of the London School of Economics, a fellow billionaire philanthropist and a founder of a nonprofit management consulting firm to join Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates on a newly created governing board that will oversee the charity.

 

The establishment of the board was heralded last year as a necessary step after Mr. Gates and Ms. French Gates announced that they were divorcing and the billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett resigned as the third trustee of the nation’s largest charitable foundation.

The creation of the board “represents an explicit recognition by Bill and Melinda, especially in the wake of their divorce, that the foundation will be well served by the addition of strong, independent voices to help shape our governance,” said Mark Suzman, the chief executive of the Gates Foundation, in a statement. Mr. Suzman will also serve on the board, bringing the total to six members.

 

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given out more than $60 billion in grants over its 21 years, in areas like global public health and agriculture. Most recently, it provided more than $2 billion to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

After a decade and a half of relative stability, change at the top of the Gates Foundation came quickly and unexpectedly. First, Bill Gates Sr., a co-chair, died in 2020. Then the couple announced last spring that they would be divorcing. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Buffett said he would step down after nearly 15 years as a trustee.

 

Under pressure to publicly discuss how the divorce might affect governance at an organization with nearly 1,800 employees that funds work in 134 countries, Mr. Suzman announced in July that big changes would be coming to the foundation, including new board members.

Another new member, Strive Masiyiwa, is a telecom billionaire and philanthropist who has signed the Giving Pledge, which Mr. Gates, Ms. French Gates and Mr. Buffett created as a public promise to give away more than half of one’s wealth. A longtime board member of the Rockefeller Foundation, he has also been chairman of the Gates-backed Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.

 

Mr. Masiyiwa is working now as the African Union’s special envoy on Covid-19 and has been trying to broker greater vaccine access for the continent. In that capacity, he has at times been critical of Covax, the global immunization program that the Gates Foundation played a critical role in helping stand up.

 

The foundation was looking for “genuinely strong independent voices, willing to give frank advice in private, and potentially occasionally in public like some of Strive’s,” Mr. Suzman said in an interview.

 

Ms. French Gates called herself “energized to work with them to drive progress on some of the most important issues the world faces today.”

 

The board could include up to nine members, with the goal of increasing its representation by gender, geography and expertise under discussion, Mr. Suzman said.

One Comment

  1. I think the video is being misinterpreted, having young girls on videos does not necessarily mean one is advocating for that specific girl or young girls to be married.
    So you want to see 35 year olds in his videos?

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