Microsoft board members reportedly told Bill Gates to step down from the board last year so they could begin investigations into an alleged affair with a female staffer, according to The Wall Street Journal. Bill Gates stepped down from his role as a board member in March 2020, with his reason being he wanted to focus more on philanthropic priorities, including global health and development, education and my increasing engagement in tackling climate change. However, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that in twenty nineteen board members hired a law firm to conduct an investigation into an alleged affair after a female employee wrote a letter saying she had no relationship with Bill Gates spanning over several years during the investigation and reportedly became apparent it wasn’t suitable to Mr. Gates to continue sitting on the board.
A Microsoft spokesman said Microsoft received concern in the latter half of twenty nineteen that Bill Gates sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000. A committee of the board reviewed the concern, aided by an outside law firm, to conduct a thorough investigation. Throughout the investigation, Microsoft provided extensive support to the employee who raised the concern. A spokesperson for Bill Gates did clarify there was an affair, but that it didn’t contribute to him stepping down from the board.
There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably. His decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter. In fact, he had expressed an interest in spending more time on his philanthropy. Starting several years earlier, Bill and Melinda Gates announced this month that the two were divorcing after twenty-seven years of marriage.