October 27, 2014 / 8:20 PM / 5 years ago

Paul Allen's sister steps away from managing $17 bln fortune

SEATTLE, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Paul Allen’s sister, Jody, who has managed the Microsoft Corp co-founder’s multi-billion dollar philanthropy and investment efforts for three decades, is taking an indefinite sabbatical, according to an Allen spokeswoman.

“Vulcan CEO Jody Allen announced that she is taking a sabbatical beginning today, Monday, October 27th,” said Vulcan spokeswoman Alexa Rudin in an emailed statement. “During her sabbatical, Jody’s direct reports will report to our president and Chief Operating Officer Barbara Bennett, who joined Vulcan in September.”

Jody Allen’s departure as Chief Executive Officer of Vulcan Inc, the primary vehicle for managing Allen’s estimated $17 billion fortune, comes after a turbulent few years for the organization and the Allen family.

Vulcan’s chief investment officer and Allen’s personal technology adviser both left this spring with little explanation.

Those departures came after a stream of bad publicity for the Allen family amid a lawsuit brought by former security guards that accused Jody of illegally smuggling penguin skulls and ivory and sexually harassing members of her own security detail. The Allen family settled the matter out of court on undisclosed terms.

Jody Allen has been central to her brother’s business and philanthropic interests since he left Microsoft in 1983, just eight years after founding what became the world’s biggest software company, with Seattle school friend Bill Gates.

Allen’s share of Microsoft, which went public in 1986, became the bedrock of his fortune, which has made him the world’s 43rd richest person, according to Forbes magazine’s website.

His varied interests now include ownership of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, real estate holdings in Seattle’s booming South Lake Union quarter, and channeling millions of dollars into brain-science research. Earlier this month, Allen committed more than $100 million to combating the Ebola virus.

Rudin said there was no end date to the sabbatical but that Jody Allen was expected to return to Vulcan. (Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Alan Crosby)

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