The founder of SAP software firm, Hasso Plattner, has become the first German to join "The Giving Pledge" initiative. Founded by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, members must donate half of their billionaire fortunes.
Hasso Plattner, whose fortune is estimated at $7.2 billion (5.3 billion euros) by Forbes magazine, had pledged to donate half of his wealth to charitable purposes, the organizers of the US-based initiative announced late Tuesday.
Plattner is one of four founding members of Germany-based business software manufacturer SAP and currently holds the position of supervisory board chairman at the firm. SAP has annual revenue of about 16 billion euros and employs more than 65,000 people worldwide.
The German billionaire said he owed his success to the opportunity to study almost for free at one of the best technical universities in Germany, thanks to government funding.
"I feel a strong allegiance to my company, but I also fell obliged to give something back to society which made my education possible," Plattner said in a statement.
The Giving Pledge was founded by US investment guru Warren Buffet and Microsoft founder Bill Gates about three years ago. More than 100 billionaires, almost all from the United States, have already joined the elite club, which only takes in billionaires as members. The pledge they are asked to make consists of an informal commitment to give half of their money to charity, either during their lifetime or in their wills.
According to the initiative, Hasso Plattner would donate most of his fortune to his own charity, which he founded some 20 years ago, focusing on global education and health problems.
It was "enormously rewarding to see the positive effects a donation can have," Plattner was said to have written in his application.
uhe (Reuters, dpa)