Bill Gates’ money manager, Michael Larson, has come under scrutiny as recent details have surfaced alleging inappropriate workplace behavior. The claims that Larson made racist and sexist comments have come from former employees of his, reported The New York Times and Business Insider.
- According to a recent New York Times report, Larson created a “culture of fear” among his employees.
- Reportedly, Larson bullied employees. The company, Cascade Investment, paid at least seven people who witnessed Larson’s behavior to never speak about it again, reported The New York Times.
- Larson has denied some — but not all — of the allegations, said the New York Post.
Bill and Melinda Gates, who run the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, announced May 7 that they would be ending their 27-year marriage. Following the announcement, previously unknown details of Bill Gates' workplace behavior and personal life — as well as his money manager’s — have come out, causing his “carefully crafted public image” to “unravel,” according to the New York Post.
Who is Michael Larson?
Larson has been managing the Gates’ fortune for 27 years. He heads Cascade Investment, the company created to manage and grow the couple’s fortune, reports Business Insider. Cascade, also called Bill and Melinda Gates Investments (BMGI), is solely responsible for the Gates’ fortune.
- In short, Larson’s job is to “make Bill Gates richer,” according to Business Insider.
- Since 1994, Larson and his firm have grown the Gates’ wealth from less than $10 billion to about $130 billion, reported The New York Times.
The investment strategy focused on undervalued or old-fashioned stocks, not new tech companies, allowing the Gates to avoid the worst of the 2000 dot-com bubble bursting as well as the 2008 and 2009 recessions, said The New York Times.
Larson’s workplace behavior
- The former employees said Larson made sexist comments about female employees’ attractiveness and made inappropriate sexual comments directly to female employees, reported The New York Times.
- One Black employee, Stacy Ybarra, recalled telling Larson she had voted on Election Day, to which Larson responded, “but you live in the ghetto, and everybody knows that Black people don’t vote” per Business Insider.
- Employees said Larson sent emails calling individuals “stupid” or their work “garbage” —comments known as “Larson Bombs,” The New York Times reported.
Larson denied making these comments. However, he also responded that “years ago, earlier in my career, I used harsh language that I would not use today. I regret this greatly but have done a lot of work to change,” per Business Insider.
- Larson still runs Cascade, said The New York Times.
Bill and Melinda Gates respond
According to Bill Gates’ spokesperson via The New York Times, “BMGI (Gates Investments) takes all complaints seriously and seeks to address them effectively to guarantee a safe and respectful workplace.”
According to Melinda Gates’ spokesperson via The New York Times, “Melinda unequivocally condemns disrespectful and inappropriate conduct in the workplace. She was unaware of most of these allegations given her lack of ownership of and control over BMGI.”