As the world’s richest man ($80 billion net worth) and head of the largest software company, Bill Gates has many friends. A lot of them have been world leaders during his four decades in the spotlight. However, the Microsoft founder has not yet been given the open door policy by the new UK Prime Minister.
Gates has been a regular visitor to No.10 Downing Street. He enjoyed a good relationship with Tony Blair in the late 1990s. Those days, Bill Gates was leading Microsoft, but his visitors to world leaders are usually about his charitable efforts.
It was a similar way with David Cameron, with Gates a welcome visitors at Downing Street. However, speaking to the Telegraph, he points out new PM Theresa May has yet to extend an invite. Not that Gates expects an invite, but he will be in the UK on starting next Monday. He will attend the three-day Grand Challenges forum.
Gates even offers that he would be happy to meet May and even hopes it happens. Speaking to the Telegraph’s Mary Riddell, Gates adds that no meeting has been scheduled.
Bill Gates Influence
The UK actually needs someone like Bill Gates. The country shook the world earlier this year with its decision to pull out of the European Union (Brexit). The economic and political ramifications have been profound and the British Pounds is currently tanking.
Someone with Gates’ influence in the business world would be important. The Prime Minister needs allies in industries if she is to renegotiate the economic structure of the UK. Gates already said the UK would be a “significantly less attractive place” for businesses in a post-Brexit environment.
Prior to the referendum, Gates said the UK should remain in the EU, warning that it would become a “significantly less attractive place” to do business if it left. The UK has been a close ally of the Gates Foundation, the charitable organization set up by Bill and his wife. Indeed, the Foundation reportedly has $1.1 billion in UK-based research.
Speaking to Riddell, Gates said the following about the UK:
“Britain has world-class universities. Cambridge is our [Microsoft’s] European research centre. No one is changing their plans overnight. A lot of uncertainty has been created and, in economic [matters], uncertainty always causes people to delay investments. I don’t have a crystal ball. But I can’t say enough good things about the support we’ve had from every British PM.”
Gates continued: “Our foundation puts a lot of money into [British universities] because they are the best in the world. So obviously we hope the smart people can continue to move back and forth between Europe and the UK. I doubt a mistake will get made. But obviously the status quo would have been a little simpler.”