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Billionaire George Soros passes baton to son Alexander

Alexander Soros told WSJ this week that he is replacing his 92-year-old father as chairman of the Open Society Foundation (OSF) board

Billionaire George Soros passes baton to son Alexander
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

Hungarian-born US billionaire philanthropist George Soros has handed the reins of his $25 billion financial and charitable empire to his son Alexander.

Alexander Soros, 37, said in an exclusive interview with The Wall Street Journal that he is replacing his 92-year-old father as chairman of the Open Society Foundation (OSF) board.

The news came as a surprise as Soros senior, in an earlier interview, had opposed the idea of his foundation being managed by his children. Alexander is George Soros’s son from his second marriage to Susan Weber. 

Through the OSF, George Soros has been a chief contributor to the Democrats in the US and has “actively supported the development of democratic institutions” in numerous countries. 

Despite his contributions, he has also been the subject of various anti-Semitic conspiracies in recent years. 

Leadership transition at Open Society Foundation

Alexander, a history graduate, is the only family member on the investment committee for Soros Fund Management, which the Wall Street Journal says manages the family’s fortune and the charitable foundation’s resources.

In December, Alexander took over as chairman at OSF and took charge of his father’s super PAC.

Super PACs, or political action committees, are independent expenditure-only political committees that may receive unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations, labor unions and other political action committees for the purpose of financing independent expenditures and other independent political activity, according to the US Federal Election Commission.

Alexander told the Wall Street Journal that while he and his father generally share the same political views, he considers himself “more political” and expressed his intentions to campaign against Donald Trump’s bid for a second presidential term.

Alexander plans to continue his father’s legacy by supporting free speech, criminal justice reform, minority, and refugee rights through OSF. He also aims to include initiatives focusing on voting rights, abortion, and gender equity, while placing a greater emphasis on domestic issues in the United States.

Soros and India: A Contentious Relationship

Soros senior’s comments earlier this year in the wake of the Adani Group stocks sell-off had raised a storm in India.

Soros had said that the chaos surrounding Gautam Adani’s corporate empire following US short seller Hindenburg Research’s report on the group undermines confidence in India as an investment destination, and “could potentially pave the way for a resurgence of democracy in the country”.

“Modi is silent on the subject, but he will have to answer questions from foreign investors and in parliament,” Soros said in a speech while referring to the turmoil in Gautam Adani’s corporate empire in February. “This will significantly weaken Modi’s stranglehold on India’s federal government and open the door to push for much-needed institutional reforms. I may be naive, but I expect a democratic revival in India.”

The Indian government had hit back at the comments.

“It is ironical that those who practice politics through boardrooms and by manipulating the public are sermonizing about those who regularly seek and receive the mandate of the people,” Arindam Bagchi, India’s foreign ministry spokesman, had said. “India’s democracy does not need certificates from outside.”

External affairs minister S Jaishankar, too, had slammed the billionaire for his remarks, saying he is “old, rich, opinionated, and dangerous,” adding that people like Soros start questioning the democratic setup when the electoral outcomes are not according to their liking.

Meanwhile, about four months after the US short seller’s report on the Adani Group shook the financial markets, the conglomerate’s stocks are finding it hard to shake off the impact, Bloomberg reported last week. While two of Adani’s 10 stocks have bounced back strongly, a full recovery to pre-Hindenburg levels looks distant.

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