Thursday, January 11, 2007

Gates Fnd: she maybe shouldn't have said that out loud

It may be that Gates Foundation COO Cheryl Scott is in hot water today, and the reason can be read between the lines of today's news coverage.

The L.A. Times today has a followup article which is obviously based on that press release that appeared and then disappeared from the foundation website yesterday. The newspaper is spinning that announcement as being about the foundation newly reconsidering its investment practices in reaction to their articles. I didn't get that from what they had posted, particularly, but since I still can't find a copy I'm not sure. They secondhand-quote Scott saying that such internal discussion was already underway long before the recent articles, which is completely plausible to anyone working in major foundations because it's not at all a new subject in that world.

Nobody at Gates is talking to the L.A. Times but Scott on Tuesday did talk to their hometown paper, the Seattle Times. To them she said on the record that the foundation's current method of investing its assets is "not 100 percent effective," and she did apparently say to that paper that the foundation will now newly review its investment practices. She had also in that press release written that the foundation would "formalize the process by which Bill and Melinda Gates analyze and review these issues."

That last part may be what ticked off one or more people named Gates. In effect Scott told the world that Bill and Melinda, personally, have not been paying much attention to or thought about the issue of where the foundation invests its huge endowment. Whether that is or isn't a fair characterization I dunno, but I can hazard a guess as to how well it was received by a guy who quit college at age 20 and built from scratch a huge global business and fortune.


Greg said...

The announcement appears to be back up:

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