Bill Gates departure from Microsoft is linked to a relationship with an employee
Sylvie Claire / May 17, 2021
Bill Gates' final departure from Microsoft Group in March 2020 would be linked to a relationship deemed inappropriate with an employee of the company in the early 2000s, according to a report published Sunday by the Wall Street Journal.
The founder and former executive of the IT giant had stepped down as a director of the group in March 2020.
Microsoft board members had decided that Bill Gates should step down from its board of directors in 2020 as they conducted an investigation into the billionaire's relationship with a Microsoft employee, which was deemed inappropriate, the business daily reported, citing sources close to the case.
This is an affair dating back 20 years ago that ended amicably, according to a spokeswoman for Bill Gates, quoted by the Wall Street Journal. He left Microsoft so that he could devote himself full-time to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, she said, as had been specified at the time.
The former Microsoft boss and his wife Melinda, who created together 20 years ago this foundation fighting against poverty and diseases, announced their divorce on May 3rd, after 27 years of marriage.
A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to AFP that the group was made aware in late 2019 that Bill Gates sought an intimate relationship with a company employee in 2000. A committee of the board of directors reviewed the matter, assisted by an outside law firm, to conduct a thorough investigation
This engineer of the group had claimed, in a letter, to have maintained a sexual relationship with Bill Gates for years, details the Wall Street Journal, specifying that the resignation had taken place before the end of this investigation.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the board members had also asked about the links between Bill Gates and the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was prosecuted for trafficking in minors. Bill Gates' defense assured them that these were philanthropic relationships that he regretted, the newspaper said.
Bill Gates, who founded Microsoft in 1975, relinquished his position as CEO in 2000 to focus on his foundation before stepping down from any executive position at Microsoft in 2008.
His seat as a director was the last position that still linked him to the giant he co-founded.