Bill and Melinda Gates met at Microsoft and the two were married in 1994.
The couple, who agreed to give away more than half of their assets, will continue to work together in charitable endeavors.
The financial implications are not immediately clear.
Bill Gates, co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft, and his wife, Melinda French Gates, said on Twitter on Monday that they are breaking up after 27 years. The two will continue to collaborate on philanthropic endeavors, covering education, gender equality and health care.
“After a lot of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we made the decision to end our marriage,” Bill and Melinda Gates wrote in a statement that Bill Gates
“Over the past 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and created a foundation that works around the world to empower all people to lead healthy and productive lives.
We continue to share the belief in that mission and will continue our work at the foundation together, but we no longer believe that we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.
We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life. “The decision reflects a personal change at the top of corporate America. Bill Gates led Microsoft as CEO from its inception with Paul Allen in 1975 to 2000, leaving Steve Ballmer to lead the company, while Bill Gates was chairman and chief software engineer.
became an architect.In 2008, Gates gave up his day-to-day role with the company to devote more time to the nonprofit Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Last year, Bill Gates stepped down from Microsoft’s board as the coronavirus became a force around the world. He began to spend more time on the foundation alongside Melinda Gates.
The two are co-chairs and trustees of the foundation, which started in 2000. Bill and Melinda Gates both worked at Microsoft. She had been general manager of the software company, where she worked on products such as the Encarta encyclopedia according to her LinkedIn profile.
The two met at a dinner for Microsoft employees in 1987. “It took him quite a few months before he asked me out,” Melinda Gates said later. Bill Gates weighed the pros and cons on a blackboard, and the couple married in Hawaii in 1994.
Financial details of Gateses’ farewell are not yet clear. Bill Gates owns 1.37% of Microsoft’s outstanding stock, which is worth more than $ 26 billion, according to FactSet. The pair, along with Warren Buffett, were the creators of the Giving Pledge, a program that required participants to give away more than half of their assets.
At one point, the couple decided to move $ 20 billion worth of Microsoft stock to the foundation because they wanted to increase their commitment to philanthropy, Bill Gates wrote in a 2019 blog post. Today, the foundation has more than $ 51, according to a tax return. billion in assets, making it one of the world’s richest foundations.
“In Melinda’s case, she’s a truly equal partner,” Bill Gates said in the 2019 Netflix documentary Inside Bill’s Brain. “She’s a lot like me because she’s optimistic and interested in science. people than me. She’s a little less hardcore in the know, you know, immunology, than me.
In 2015, the two began to search areas they were interested in. Bill Gates founded Breakthrough Energy, a climate change slowdown initiative that includes a venture arm, and Melinda Gates founded Pivotal Ventures, a company that makes investments to promote equality.
For Valentine’s Day in 2020, Bill Gates posted a photo on Instagram showing him with his arm around Melinda Gates. “I couldn’t ask for a better partner on this trip,” the caption said. For more than a decade, the Gateses have been publishing a letter about their foundation work every year.
In the latest, published in January, they reflected on the consequences of the pandemic, in addition to supporting vaccine development. “For us, the days became a blur of video conferences, disturbing news stories and microwaved meals,” they wrote.
Bill Gates is the fourth richest person in the world, after Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, LVMH’s Bernard Arnault and Tesla’s Elon Musk, according to Forbes. The announcement comes two years after Bezos said he and his wife, MacKenzie, were getting divorced.
Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos are among the richest people in the world, and Amazon and Microsoft compete in cloud computing.
Amazon said earlier this year that Bezos would step down as CEO and that cloud chief Andy Jassy would succeed him.