The multi-billionaire funder of Democratic and liberal causes says the 37-year-old has ‘earned’ at the helm of a $25b empire.
Billionaire hedge fund manager-turned-philanthropist George Soros has decided to hand over control of his $25bn philanthropic and financial empire to his son Alexander.
A spokesman for Soros, a prominent supporter of liberal and democratic causes, confirmed the plan to Reuters after it was initially reported by the Wall Street Journal in an interview with Soros published on Sunday.
Soros, 92, said he did not want his Open Society Foundations (OSF) to be taken over by one of his five children.
But he told the Journal he had changed his mind.
“He’s earned it,” the elder Soros said of his 37-year-old son, also known as Alex.
OSF is active in more than 120 countries and provides approximately $1.5 billion annually to channels strengthening civil society, promoting human rights, and combating corruption, including Global Witness and the International Crisis Group.
In an interview with the newspaper, Alex described himself as “more political” than his father and said he plans to continue donating family money to left-wing political candidates in the US.
She told the Journal that she was expanding the foundation’s priorities from her father’s “liberal aims” to include voting and abortion rights and gender equality.
“As much as I love to get money out of politics, as long as the other side does it, we have to do it too,” Alex said.
The OSF board elected Alex as its president in December, and he now directs Soros’ political activities in the United States as head of the Political Action Committee.
George Soros was born in Hungary in 1930 and helped other Jewish families do the same after escaping the Nazi occupation after his family received false identification documents. He described the profession as his most “formative experience”.
Soros built a successful career as a financier and began his philanthropic career in 1979, providing scholarships to black South Africans living under apartheid.
He then began working on issues of freedom of thought and expression by funding academic visits to Western countries and supporting independent cultural groups starting in Hungary.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, he created the Central European University in Budapest as a place to foster critical thinking.
Soros has long been a target of right-wing and anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists in the United States, his native Hungary and elsewhere. OSF closed its Budapest office in 2018 and moved CEU to Vienna after the “Stop Soros” campaign led by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party.