Bill And Melinda Gates Announce Divorce After 27 Years Of Marriage

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda French Gates are calling it quits after 27 years of marriage.

The couple, who run the world’s largest charitable organization together, announced on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) that they are divorcing. However, the two said they will keep working together on philanthropic efforts to address education, gender equality and healthcare.

Bill Gates led Microsoft as its chief executive officer from its founding with Paul Allen in 1975 until 2000, when he became chairman and chief software architect. In 2008 Gates gave up his day-to-day role at the company to spend more time on the non-profit "Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation."

Last year Bill Gates stepped down from Microsoft’s board and began spending more time on the foundation alongside Melinda Gates. The two are co-chairs and trustees of the foundation, which launched in 2000.

Bill and Melinda Gates both worked at Microsoft. She had been a general manager at the software company. The two met at a dinner for Microsoft employees in 1987 and were married in 1994 in Hawaii.

Bill Gates currently owns 1.37% of Microsoft’s outstanding shares, which are worth more than $26 billion U.S., according to FactSet. The couple were creators, along with Warren Buffett, of the "Giving Pledge," a program that requires participants to give away more than half of their wealth.

At one point the couple moved $20 billion U.S. worth of Microsoft stock to the foundation as they sought to increase their commitment to philanthropy. Today the foundation has more than $51 billion U.S. in assets, making it the world’s wealthiest charitable foundation.

Bill Gates is the world’s fourth richest person, behind Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Jeff Bezos, LVMH’s Bernard Arnault and Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) Elon Musk, according to Forbes magazine.