Billionaire David Koch to retire from Koch Industries

Billionaire David Koch to retire from Koch Industries

Billionaire David Koch to retire from Koch Industries

The political network backed by the Koch brothers is launching a multi-year, multimillion-dollar campaign to oppose U.S. President Donald Trump's push to slap billions of dollars in tariffs on imports from around the world.

Koch is leaving for health reasons, according to an internal Koch Industries memo obtained byCNBC The 78-year-old business tycoon was diagnosed with prostate cancer more than two decades ago and his health has been deteriorating.

The 78-year-old NY resident is suffering from deteriorating health, according to a letter from older brother Charles Koch sent to company officials Tuesday.

Charles Koch wrote that he is "deeply saddened" by his brother's retirement.

Mark Holden, who has spent a career at Koch Industries and now helps run their political efforts, said the Koch network would continue to expand even as one of its founders steps aside.

The Koch brothers have been a force in American politics since the 1980s, and their influence has largely been powered by a fortune centered on Koch Industries.

Known simply as the Koch Brothers, Charles and David have been the object of obsession across the political spectrum. He gave $128 million to New York-Presbyterian Hospital, $26.5 million to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, $26.2 million to the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, $20 million to Johns Hopkins University, $10 million to Mount Sinai Medical Center and $10 million to the children's hospital at Stanford University for allergy research.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, the Kochs kept their distance from Trump. Charles Koch, 82, has appeared in recent months to pick up some of the slack left over by his brother's illness.

But the Kochs, with their support for free trade and immigration reform, have distanced themselves from President Trump's abrasive rhetoric and protectionist policies.

CNBC reports that David will now become director emeritus at Koch Industries.

Through a constellation of aligned groups, the network still plans to spend between $300 million and $400 million on politics and policy during the 2018 election cycle. "We greatly appreciate his vital role on the board and all that he has done to help us build a strong foundation for our future success". The money has come through personal gifts and the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation. He has also given $185 million in total donations to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his alma mater. Koch Industries is the country's second-largest private company after Cargill and makes everything from components in iPhones to Brawny paper towels.

David ran as a Libertarian candidate for president in 1980, and together the Koch brothers made large contributions to the Republican Party in 2010, facilitating the party's rise in the House of Representatives in that year's elections.

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