Microsoft Investigated Bill Gates Before Leaving Board: Report

NEW YORK (AP) – Microsoft Corp. board members made a decision in 2020 that it was inappropriate for co-founder Bill Gates to continue on their board as they investigated the billionaire’s previous romantic relationship with a Microsoft employee who was deemed inappropriate, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

Citing unidentified sources, The Journal reported online Sunday that board members investigating the matter hired a law firm in late 2019 to conduct an investigation after a Microsoft engineer alleged in a letter that he had a sexual relationship with Gates for several years.

The Journal reported that Gates resigned before the board’s investigation ended, citing another person familiar with the matter.

An anonymous Gates spokeswoman told The Journal that there was an affair almost 20 years ago and that it ended “amicably.” The spokesperson told The Journal that “his decision to leave the board was in no way related to this matter.”

When he left Microsoft’s board last year, Gates said he would step down to focus on philanthropy.

Microsoft could not immediately be reached for comment.

Earlier this month, Bill and Melinda Gates announced that they were getting divorced after 27 years of marriage, but would continue to work together at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the largest charitable foundations in the world. Gates was previously the richest person in the world and his fortune is estimated at more than $ 100 billion.

Earlier Sunday, The New York Times reported that Gates had developed “a reputation for questionable conduct in work-related settings.”

The Times reported that, on at least a few occasions, Gates reached out to women who worked for him at Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Times cited people with direct knowledge of his behavior.

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