WASHINGTON, May 17: Resignation of Bill Gates in 2020 from Microsoft’s Board of Directors came after the board hired a law firm to investigate a romantic relationship, he had with a Microsoft employee that was deemed inappropriate, people familiar with the matter said.
Quoting Wall Street Journal, CNN reported that some Microsoft Directors began an investigation in 2019 into the woman’s allegations of prior sexual relationship with Bill Gates. During the probe, some board members decided it was no longer suitable for Gates to sit as a Director at the software company he started and led for decades, the people said.
Gates resigned before the Board’s investigation was completed and before the full board could make a formal decision on the matter, another person familiar with the matter said, reported Wall Street Journal.
“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 said.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Gates’s spokeswoman refuted the allegations and said the decision to leave board in 2020 was not related to the matter.
A spokesperson for Gates said, “There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably.” The spokesperson said 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,” reported Wall Street Journal.
The spokesperson said 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 characterized as ‘sources’.”
Earlier this month, Melinda Gates — Bill Gates’ wife and co-founder of their foundation — filed for divorce after 27 years of marriage. In a statement announcing their split, the couple said, “after a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage.”