Bill Gates allegedly left Microsoft’s board of directors after an investigation was opened into a prior relationship with a female Microsoft employee.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a law firm hired by the board began an investigation in 2019 after a Microsoft engineer alleged in a letter she had a years-long sexual relationship with Gates.
During the process, some board members concluded that it was inappropriate for Gates to remain on the board of the company he co-founded and led for decades.
Microsoft confirmed that an investigation into the matter was conducted.
“Microsoft received a concern in the latter half of 2019 that Bill Gates sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000,” a Microsoft representative said in a statement.
“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.”
Bill Gates resigned from the Microsoft board in March 2020, prior to the conclusion of the investigation.
The billionaire stated in a press release that he wanted to focus on his philanthropy, but would continue to serve as a technical adviser to Chief Executive Satya Nadella.
WSJ notes that Gates also removed himself as a member of the board at Berkshire Hathaway Inc., a conglomerate company where his friend Warren Buffett serves as CEO.
A spokesperson for the business magnet acknowledged that he had an affair nearly 20 years ago that ended amicably, but maintains his “decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter,” and he “had expressed an interest in spending more time on his philanthropy starting several years earlier.”
Gates and his wife Melinda Gates announced earlier this month that they were ending their marriage after 27 years.
In a joint statement posted on Twitter, the couple said, “We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.” In a divorce petition, Melinda Gates described their marriage as “irretrievably broken.”