How Bill Gates stepped Down from Microsoft over Alleged Relationship With Staff
New facts have emerged why philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates stepped down from the board in 2020. According to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft’s board members asked Gates to step down from its board in 2020 as they conducted an investigation into his alleged romantic relationship with a female staffer that was deemed inappropriate
The board who were looking into the matter hired a law firm in 2019 to conduct an investigation into allegations made by a female Microsoft engineer who alleged she had a sexual relationship with Gates over several years.
During the probe, some board members decided it was unsuitable for Gates to remain a director at the software company he had co-founded.
Gates reportedly resigned before the investigation into his conduct was finished, and before the board could make a formal decision about the allegations.
A spokesperson for Gates told the Journal that the billionaire did have an affair “almost 20 years ago”, but noted it had ended amicably, and Gates’ decision to exit the Microsoft board was “in no way related to this matter.”
The report of the board’s investigation isn’t the first story of questionable conduct by Gates. In 2019, the New York Times reported about the billionaire’s relationship with Jeffery Epstein—who faced accusations of sex trafficking and exploiting minor girls, and pleaded guilty for soliciting sex from a minor. Gates reportedly first met Epstein in 2011 at his Manhattan townhouse, and then met him several times between 2011 and 2013. In 2013, Gate also took a ride on Epstein’s private jet from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to Palm Beach, Florida, the Times’ report added, citing flight records. Melinda French Gates, who is set to divorce the Microsoft co-founder after 27 years of marriage, had expressed discomfort about her husband spending time with the sex offender. According to the Daily Beast, Melinda told her friends about wanting nothing to do with Epstein after her first encounter with him, and that Gates’ friendship with the alleged sex trafficker still haunts her. According to the Times, Melinda was unhappy when Gates’ relationship with Epstein became public in 2019, and she hired divorce lawyers, eventually leading to this month’s announcement about the couple’s impending separation.
Gates resigned from Microsoft’s board in March 2020, three months after he had been re-elected to the seat. In his announcement, the billionaire said he wanted to focus on his philanthropy and would continue to serve as a technical adviser to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. On the same day, Gates also exited the board of Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate run by billionaire Warren Buffet.
Earlier this month, Gates and his wife Melinda issued a joint statement on Twitter announcing their separation after 27 years of marriage. In the statement, the couple said they no longer believe they can “ grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.” In a divorce petition, Melinda said her marriage was “irretrievably broken.” The two of them, however, plan to remain co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.