Microsoft investigated Gates over alleged involvement with female employee

Software giant reviewed matter with the help of an outside law firm

  Bill Gates at a conference in New York in 2019. The divorce of Melinda French Gates and Bill Gates puts a spotlight on a highly secretive fortune, which combines the value of Ford, Twitter and Marriott International, and is triple the endowment of Harvard. Photograph: Jeenah Moon/The New York Times

Bill Gates at a conference in New York in 2019. The divorce of Melinda French Gates and Bill Gates puts a spotlight on a highly secretive fortune, which combines the value of Ford, Twitter and Marriott International, and is triple the endowment of Harvard. Photograph: Jeenah Moon/The New York Times

 

Microsoft’s directors started an investigation into Bill Gates’s alleged involvement with a female employee that was deemed inappropriate and decided that the co-founder had to step down from the board last year, Dow Jones reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The software giant had received a concern last year that Mr Gates had tried to have an “intimate” relationship with an employee in the second half of 2019, Dow Jones cited a Microsoft spokesman as saying.

The board reviewed the matter with the help of an outside law firm, the spokesman added.

Board members handling the matter hired the law firm to conduct the investigation after receiving a letter from a Microsoft engineer who said she had a sexual relationship with Gates for years, Dow Jones said.

Mr Gates left before the investigation was completed, it reported. A spokesperson for Mr Gates couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Mr Gates and his wife Melinda Gates announced earlier this month that they are ending their marriage.

The Microsoft co-founder and his wife, who launched the world’s largest charitable foundation, said they would continue to work together at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In identical tweets, they said they had made the decision to end their marriage of 27 years. “We have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives,” they said in a statement.

“We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”

Last year, Mr Gates, formerly the world’s richest person, said he was stepping down from Microsoft’s board to focus on philanthropy.

Mr Gates was Microsoft’s chief executive until 2000, and since then has gradually scaled back his involvement in the company he started with Paul Allen in 1975. - Bloomberg/AP/Reuters