The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced that CEO Jeff Raikes has decided to retire.
In an e-mail to employees, Raikes, 55, wrote that he had envisioned a five-year commitment when he was named CEO of the foundation in 2008 after serving as president of the Microsoft Business Division. According to the e-mail, Raikes, who will remain in his position until a successor is named, plans to focus on things he hasn't had time for, including his work at the Raikes Foundation, which supports efforts to address youth and education issues.
"I have learned so much from Bill, Melinda, our grantees and partners, and all of you about catalytic philanthropy and specific issues like agriculture and education," wrote Raikes, who, accompanied by the Gateses, also met with foundation employees. "I have also learned from — and been deeply moved by — the people I've met in the field, whether they're Ethiopian farmers trying to grow enough food to feed their children or a teacher in New Orleans helping students make a better future. These lessons will not only inspire me but also serve me day-to-day, because I will continue to invest my time and energy in these areas."
"The foundation is in the best shape that it's ever been in thanks to Jeff," said Bill Gates. "He has successfully managed the organization through a period of significant growth, built a phenomenal leadership team, and set us on a great path programmatically. Thanks to Jeff we are at the place now where we will be able to have the impact we want."
"Jeff has been a wonderful collaborator," added Melinda Gates. "He kept us looking ahead and positioned the foundation, and Bill and me, for long-term success. He always stressed the importance of partnership and continuous learning, which has been invaluable to improving the work we do."