Business, Conservative icon David Koch leaving business, politics

Billionaire industrialist and political megadonor David Koch, who helped oversee Koch Industries with older brother Charles Koch, is stepping down from his position as executive vice president and board member of the $100 billion (sales) conglomerate due to deteriorating health.

His brother, Charles Koch, announced in a letter to Koch Industries employees on Tuesday that David Koch's health had been in decline since he was hospitalised last summer.

The 78-year-old NY resident is suffering from deteriorating health, Charles Koch wrote in the letter. "Because of this, David will be retiring from his responsibilities at Koch and other organizations", the letter states.

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer 25 years ago, and he has given vast sums toward cancer research in the quarter century since then. According to Forbes, the company, which was founded in 1940, had $100 billion in revenue in 2017, making it the second-largest privately held American company.

Chairman of the board of Americans for Prosperity David Koch speaks at the Defending the American Dream summit at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 21, 2015.

David and Charles Koch are widely known for their financial support of conservative causes that favor businesses and stricter environmental regulation, according to the New York Times.

The tariff decision elicited outcries from allies overseas and domestic business groups - but arguably none more influential among conservatives than the Koch network.

Citing concerns about Trump's style and substance, the network refused to endorse either presidential candidate in the 2016 election.

The Koch Brothers have always been supporters of the Republican Party but Donald Trump has angered the family and three political groups that support them.

In a statement Tuesday about Koch's departure, Holden said network officials "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". David Koch has given at least $1.3 billion of his fortune to charitable causes, including the David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care at New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the David H. Koch Cancer Research Building at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the David H. Koch Theater, the Lincoln Center home for the New York City Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre. The organization was especially active during the presidency of Barack Obama whom they both saw as driven by a socialist agenda that threated their libertarian philosophy and their business. He will continue to serve as the CEO of Koch Industries and the unofficial face of the network's political efforts. When Harry Reid was Senate majority leader, the Nevada Democrat routinely railed against the duo in the run-up to the 2014 midterm elections as "power-drunk billionaires" intent on buying American elections to suit their purposes.

  • Rogelio Becker