Bill Gates resignation from Microsoft board in 2020 reportedly came amid investigation of alleged affair with Microsoft employee
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is at the centre of reports about an alleged affair with a Microsoft employee, and advances to other staff members.
Earlier this month the world was shocked when Bill and Melinda Gates suddenly announced they were to divorce after 27 years of marriage, in what could prove to an expensive exercise for one of the world’s richest men with a personal fortune of $144 billion.
Now a report from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said that Bill Gates’s March 2020 resignation from Microsoft’s board of directors came after the board had hired a law firm to investigate a romantic relationship he had with a Microsoft employee.
Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the WSJ reported on Sunday that a Microsoft engineer had “alleged in a letter that she had a sexual relationship over years with Mr. Gates.”
“During the probe, some board members decided it was no longer suitable for Mr. Gates to sit as a director at the software company he started and led for decades,” the WSJ reported. “Mr. Gates resigned before the board’s investigation was completed.”
The employee was not named in the Journal’s article.
Microsoft has confirmed it received the letter alleging an affair.
“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 spokesperson confirmed to CNN Business late Sunday.
“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,” the Microsoft spokesperson reportedly said.
And it seems that Bill Gates himself has admitted there was an affair back in 2000, but pointed out that this had noting to do with him stepping down from Microsoft’s board.
“There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably,” a spokesperson for Gates told the WSJ. “Bill’s 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.”
The spokesperson also pointed to a March 2020 statement regarding his decision to resign from the board.
The WSJ’s story came after a separate New York Times article alleged that Gates had “developed a reputation for questionable conduct in work-related settings.”
The NYT reported that “on at least a few occasions, Gates pursued women who worked for him at Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.”
The NYT did not cite the names of the people involved or the names of its sources.
“It is extremely disappointing that there have been so many untruths published about the cause, the circumstances and the timeline of Bill Gates’ divorce,” a Gates’ spokesperson reportedly told the NYT.
The spokesperson said that the “claim of mistreatment of employees is also false,” and that “the rumours and speculation surrounding Gates’ divorce are becoming increasingly absurd and it’s unfortunate that people who have little to no knowledge of the situation are being characterised as ‘sources.’”
Indeed, some may question the timing of these reports from ‘anonymous sources’, just a week after a divorce between the two parties was announced.
Despite that, Bill Gates is viewed as a positive role model by many people.
As the former CEO and co-founder of software giant Microsoft, Gates is a well known philanthropist.
Perhaps the only bit of shade thrown at Bill Gates in recent times came from Microsoft’s other co-founder Paul Allen, who passed away in 2018 after a long and protracted battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Allen wrote in his “Idea Man” memoir book in 2011 that Gates and Steve Ballmer had colluded against him in the 1980s.
Allen was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in September 1982, but went on to beat the disease.
But months later in March 1983, he resigned from Microsoft amid accusations that Gates and Ballmer were attempting to reduce his stock holdings in the company.