Gates Foundation adds outsiders to board for first time

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is adding outsiders to its board for the first time in its history.

Mark Suzman, the CEO of the foundation, said in his annual letter that the new board members were being added “to provide additional input, strategic guidance, and fiduciary oversight to the foundation.”

The new members, who were announced Wednesday, include Strive Masiyiwa, founder of technology company Econet Group; Thomas Tierney, co-founder of the consulting firm Bridgespan Group; and Minouche Shafik, director of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

“We are honored that these three deeply knowledgeable and respected individuals have agreed to join the foundation board,” Suzman said in Wednesday’s announcement. 

“Between them, they bring an incredible track record of impact across global business, philanthropy, and development, and we couldn’t be more excited to work with them,” he added.

The changes in the board come after Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates divorced last year.

Suzman said the new appointments represent an “explicit recognition” by Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates “that the foundation will be well served by the addition of strong, independent voices to help shape our governance.”

“Our new board members are strong, qualified leaders who will support the foundation and its partners in our work to promote a healthier, safer, more equal world for all. I am deeply proud of all that we have accomplished over the past two decades and energized to work with them to drive progress on some of the most important issues the world faces today,” Melinda French Gates said in the announcement.

It is possible that more people could be added to the board, as Suzman said the organization is considering including as many as nine members.