Bill Gates’s 2020 resignation from Microsoft‘s board of directors came after the board hired a law firm to investigate a romantic relationship he had with a Microsoft employee, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.
Quoting “people familiar with the matter,” The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that a Microsoft engineer had “alleged in a letter that she had had a sexual relationship for years with Mr. Gates.”
“During the investigation, some members of the board decided that it was no longer appropriate for Mr. Gates to serve as a director of the software company that he founded and led for decades,” reported the The Wall Street Journal. “Mr. Gates resigned before the board’s investigation was completed.”
The employee was not named in the article. Citizen Free Press has not confirmed the allegations cited by The Wall Street Journal.
“Microsoft received a complaint in the second half of 2019 that Bill Gates sought to enter into an intimate relationship with a company employee in 2000,” a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to CNN Business on Sunday night.
A committee of the Board reviewed the complaint, with the help of an outside law firm, to conduct a thorough investigation. Throughout the investigation, Microsoft provided broad support to the person who made the complaint.
In a statement to The Wall Street Journal, a Gates spokesman said: “There was an affair almost 20 years ago that ended amicably. Bill’s decision to leave the board was in no way related to this matter. In fact, he had expressed an interest in spending more time on his philanthropy several years before.”
The spokesperson also noted a March 2020 statement regarding Gates’ decision to resign from the board.
The story of The Wall Street Journal was published shortly after another article by The New York Times reporting that Gates had “developed a reputation for questionable conduct in work-related settings.”
The New York Times reported, citing “direct acquaintances with propositions,” that “on at least a few occasions, Mr. Gates persecuted women who worked for him at Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.”
The New York Times did not cite the names of the people involved. Gates’ spokesman told The New York Times that “it is extremely disappointing that so many falsehoods have been published about the cause, circumstances and timeline of Bill Gates’ divorce.”
The spokesman said that the “employee abuse claim is also false” and that “the rumors and speculation surrounding Gates’ divorce are becoming increasingly absurd and it is unfortunate that people who have little or no knowledge of the situation are being characterized as ‘sources’”.
Citizen Free Press has not confirmed the allegations cited by The New York Times. Spokespersons for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday night.
Earlier this month, Melinda Gates, Bill Gates’ wife and co-founder of his foundation, filed for divorce. In a statement announcing their separation, the couple said that “after thinking a lot and working hard on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage.”
Bill Gates is one of the richest people in the world. His net worth is about $144 billion, as ranked by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
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