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Buffett Sees Zero Chance of Gates Returning as Microsoft CEO

Oct. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said Bill Gates’s focus on philanthropy makes it impossible that the Microsoft Corp. co-founder will return to the company as chief executive officer.

“The chances of that are zero,” Buffett told Bloomberg Television’s Betty Liu in an interview today. “He is doing exactly what he wants to do in life, and he’s doing it well and it takes his full-time energy.”

Microsoft is searching for a new CEO after Steve Ballmer said he would step down from the world’s largest software maker. Gates, 57, is chairman of Microsoft and serves on the board of Berkshire. In 2006, Buffett committed a majority of his wealth to the foundation run by Gates and his wife, Melinda.

Gates is “flying around the world a very significant percentage of the time, and he is engaging governments in his efforts,” said Buffett, 83. “He has got more than a full-time job at the Gates Foundation, and obviously cares about Microsoft, but he’s not going back.”

Buffett appeared today alongside his son and grandson, both named Howard, to promote a new book, “40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World.” The text describes lessons the billionaire’s son learned from his years working to improve food security around the world. The elder Buffett has also given funds to foundations overseen by his three children.

To contact the reporters on this story: Noah Buhayar in New York at nbuhayar@bloomberg.net; Zachary Tracer in New York at ztracer1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net

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