Last May, Bill and Melinda Gates announced that they were going to divorce, but that they would work together for the Gates Foundation. It is now known that there is a secondary plan if the former spouses cannot get along with the organization, and continue to serve as co-chairs.
“We continue to share our belief in this mission and will continue to work together at the Foundation, but we haven’t been able to grow as a couple into the next phase of our lives,” Bill Gates wrote on Twitter on May 3 at the time of announcing Space & Privacy for our family.
The set deal gives Bill and Melinda two years to correct all apathy and work together for the foundation they created in 2000. If the experiment doesn’t go smoothly, Melinda Gates has to step down and resign as co-chairman.
According to the BBC, the agreement states that Melinda French Gates must obtain “personal resources” from her ex-husband to be able to do charitable work if she leaves the job. At the time of her divorce, Melinda was revealed to be “extremely proud” of all the work the foundation has been able to accomplish for 20 years.
“I firmly believe in the foundation’s mission and remain fully committed as co-chair of its work,” Melinda said in a statement, referring to the work the organization does in developing countries, particularly in relation to health.
The foundation’s CEO, Mark Susman, admitted to the Associated Press that this Plan B was implemented so that the couple could be “transparent in their agreement.” “This is part of a private agreement between the two, as part of a broader understanding of divorce,” Susman told The Associated Press.
“They both assured me that their intentions and commitments include being co-chairs and long-term trustees of the organization. And that is exactly what we plan,” continued the CEO.
Mark Suzman added that if the agreement does not go through as expected, the money Melinda receives “is completely separate from the foundation’s endowment which will not be affected.”