Billionaire Warren Buffett is resigning as a trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation weeks after the couple announced their divorce after 27 years of marriage.
Mr Buffett, the nonagenarian chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, said his goals remained “100pc in sync” with the foundation as he stepped down from the charity set up by the Microsoft founder and his wife.
Launched in 2000, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the world's largest charitable organisations with close to $50bn in assets.
Mr Buffett was the only trustee alongside Bill and Melinda Gates, who are the co-chairs. The couple announced their divorce in May.
Mr Gates left Microsoft’s board last year. Shortly before doing so he faced an internal investigation into a romantic relationship with a female employee in 2000.
The Berkshire chief did not give a reason for his departure, describing himself as an “inactive trustee”. He said he had resigned from the role “just as I have done at all corporate boards other than Berkshire’s”.
He added: “My goals are 100pc in sync with those of the foundation, and my physical participation is in no way needed to achieve these goals.”
With just three trustees, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s oversight remains slim compared to other large charities.
Mr Buffett has been a long-time friend of Mr Gates and does not own Microsoft shares to ensure he would not face conflict of interest claims. Mr Gates sat on Berkshre’s board until last year.
Despite the divorce, the Gates have agreed to continue running their foundation together, which has given away more than $55bn. The pair planned to give away 95pc of their wealth.
Mr Buffett’s resignation comes as he finds himself under scrutiny over his tax payments following the publication of his estimated tax returns by non-profit group ProPublica, even as his wealth has swelled to $105bn.
Mr Buffett defended his tax payments, saying he had “relatively little income. My wealth remains almost entirely deployed in tax-paying businesses that I own through my Berkshire stockholdings, and Berkshire regularly reinvests earnings to further grow its output, employment and earnings.”
In 2006, Mr Buffett said he would distribute all of his shares in Berkshire to charity. On Wednesday, he said his most recent giveaway of $4.1bn had brought him halfway to his goal.