Home » Bill Gates denies ‘affair with Microsoft employee’ made him step down from board
Bill Gates denies ‘affair with Microsoft employee’ made him step down from board
May 17, 2021
Bill Gates' affair with a Microsoft employee was not related to his decision to step down from its board, his spokeswoman has said.
The billionaire was investigated by members of the board after being informed of a letter sent by a female employee in 2019.
It alleged that she and Mr Gates – who this month announced he was divorcing his wife Melinda – had a sexual relationship spanning years, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The once richest man in the world's spokeswoman added that the relationship from nearly 20 years ago ended “amicably”.
Several Microsoft board members grew concerned over the letter and felt that Mr Gates should step down from leadership roles with the company while the investigation continued into the matter, it was reported.
Mr Gates, who found and led the tech firm from 1975, resigned from the board before the investigation could be completed.
No decision could then be made by members.
He said he wanted to focus on his philanthropic foundation.
A Gates spokeswoman acknowledged in a statement to US media that “there was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably”.
She claimed the “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.”
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A private law firm was hired to investigate the allegations by the woman.
The woman had demanded changes to her job in the letter and said Mr Gates’ now-estranged wife should also read the letter.
A Microsoft spokesman said: “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.”
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During the same period in 2019, several female employees at the software firm alleged sexual harassment and discrimination in an email chain that was reported by Quartz.
Following the report, top executives of the company said they would make changes in the process of handling their employee’s complaints.
Mr Gates, who is estimated to be worth nearly $130bn, has been making headlines since the announcement of his divorce from his wife of 27 years.
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Ms Gates had written in the court filing that the marriage was "irretrievably broken."