- Age: 66
- Residence: Washington
- Co-founder: Microsoft Corp.
- Net Worth: $127 billion
- Microsoft Ownership Stake: 1.3% ($30.8 billion)
- Other Assets: Cascade Investment LLC ($55.9 billion public assets), $55.3 billion in cash34
While attending Harvard University in 1975, Bill Gates went to work alongside his childhood friend Paul Allen to develop new software for the original microcomputers. Following this project’s success, Gates dropped out of Harvard during his junior year and went on to found Microsoft with Allen.3536
The largest software company in the world, Microsoft also produces its line of personal computers, publishes books through Microsoft Press, provides email services through its Exchange server, and sells video game systems and associated peripheral devices.373839 Originally Microsoft’s chief software architect, Gates shifted to the role of board chair in 2008. He had joined Berkshire Hathaway’s board in 2004.40 He stepped down from both boards on March 13, 2020.4142
Bill Gates has much of his net worth in Cascade Investment LLC. Cascade is a privately-held investment vehicle that owns a variety of stocks including Canadian National Railway (CNR), Deere (DE), and Republic Services (RSG), as well as private investments in real estate and energy.
In 2000, Gates’ two philanthropic organizations—the William H. Gates Foundation and the Gates Learning Foundation—merged to create the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, still co-chaired by Gates and his ex-wife, Melinda French Gates.4344 Through the foundation, they have spent billions to fight polio and malaria.45 The foundation pledged $50 million in 2014 to help fight Ebola.46 As of 2021, the foundation had spent more than $1.9 billion to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.47
In 2010, alongside Warren Buffett, Bill Gates launched the Giving Pledge, a campaign encouraging the wealthy to commit to donating most of their wealth to philanthropic causes.48 Bill and Melinda French Gates divorced on Aug. 2, 2021.49 With the divorce, roughly $5 billion in equities were transferred to French Gates.