- “In the latter half of 2019, Microsoft received a concern that Bill Gates attempted to pursue a romantic relationship with a company employee in the year 2000,” Microsoft said in a statement.
- A spokesperson for Gates told, “There was an affair about 20 years back that ended amicably & decision to leave the board had nothing to do with this case.”
- Bill and Melinda Gates declared their divorce earlier this month after 27 years of marriage.
Microsoft Corp. launched an investigation into co-founder Bill Gates’s involvement with an employee almost two decades ago after it was informed in 2019 of his attempts to start a romantic relationship.
According to the tech giant, the board looked into the situation and conducted a “thorough investigation” with the assistance of an outside law firm. The investigation was never completed because Gates resigned before it was over, according to Microsoft.
“In the latter half of 2019, Microsoft received a concern that Bill Gates attempted to pursue a romantic relationship with a company employee in the year 2000,” Microsoft said in a statement. ” With the assistance of an independent law firm, a Board committee looked into the matter and conducted a thorough investigation. Microsoft offered substantial assistance to the employee who raised the issue during the investigation.”
According to Dow Jones, Microsoft’s board of directors considered Gates’ relationship with the female employee to be unacceptable, and he was forced to resign from the board last year, citing unnamed sources familiar with the situation.
Microsoft did not offer any further information about the investigation.
In March of last year, the billionaire announced that he was stepping down from the board of directors to devote more time to philanthropy. Microsoft said at that time that Gates had not been involved in a day-to-day role since 2008. Gates co-founded the software company in 1975 and served as its CEO until 2000, the same year he established his foundation, and then as chairman until February 2014.
Gates’ decision to leave the board, according to a spokesperson, has nothing to do with a personal relationship with an employee.
The spokesperson said, “Almost 20 years ago, there was an affair that ended amicably” and his “decision to transition off the board was in no way connected to this matter.”
The inquiry came at a time when there was a groundswell of debate at Microsoft about the treatment of women, as well as Me-Too discussions in the broader industry. Microsoft has also put in place and overhauled procedures for investigating complaints since 2000, with the intention of making them stronger, according to the company.
Brian Krzanich, the CEO of Intel Corporation, resigned after the board learned of a romantic relationship he had with a subordinate, despite the fact that the relationship had ended years ago and predated his appointment to the top job at the company. The board of directors conducted internal and external inquiries to validate the breach of the company’s policies before making the announcement in June 2018.
After 27 years of marriage, Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates announced their divorce earlier this month. According to many sources, including those that surfaced over the weekend, she had expressed questions about his dealings with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
According to the New York Times, Gates met with Epstein numerous times and once stayed late at his New York townhouse. Epstein had died in prison two months before, awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges.
The reports were refuted by Gates’ spokeswoman. “His philanthropic meetings with Epstein and others are misrepresented,” she said. “Bill Gates’ divorce rumours and speculation are getting ridiculous.”
Although Gates’ interactions with Epstein were not investigated as part of the Microsoft investigation, it was addressed by some board members, according to a source familiar with the situation who requested anonymity because the information isn’t public.
The split also brought attention to the Gates fortune, which the Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimates to be worth $144 billion, as well as their foundation.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the world’s largest charitable organisation. It has distributed more than $50 billion to causes such as vaccine production and women’s empowerment since its founding, with more than 1,600 staff and offices around the world.
Last week, Gates’ investment firm, Cascade Investment, transferred shares in Deere & Co. to his wife, taking her overall compensation to more than $3 billion after the couple declared their divorce.
According to a regulatory filing, the investment vehicle issued 2.25 million shares worth $851 million. Similar announcements were made regarding Coca-Cola Femsa and Grupo Televisa in Mexico, as well as about $1.8 billion in stock in Canadian National Railway Co. and AutoNation Inc.