Microsoft board may have made Bill Gates step down due to an affair

Bill Gates documentary
Bill Gates documentary (Image credit: Netflix)

What you need to know

  • The Microsoft board reportedly opened an investigation into a romantic relationship of Bill Gates in 2019.
  • The company's board allegedly determined that Gates should step down from his board role.
  • When Gates stepped down from his role, he said it was to focus on "philanthropic priorities."

Microsoft board members opened an investigation in 2019 into Bill Gates' relationship with an employee, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The report, which cites sources familiar with the situation, claims that the company's board members determined that Gates needed to step down from his role on the board because the relationship was deemed inappropriate.

The board of Microsoft allegedly hired a law firm to investigate the relationship, which was said to begin in 2000. A spokesperson for Gates admitted that there was an affair but told the WSJ that it was unrelated to his decision to step down from the board, "there was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably." The spokesperson added that Gates' "decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter. In fact, he had expressed an interest in spending more time on his philanthropy starting several years earlier."

A Microsoft spokesperson shared a statement with Business Insider regarding the alleged affair.

Microsoft received a concern in the latter half of 2019 that Bill Gates sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000. A committee of the Board reviewed the concern, aided by an outside law firm to conduct a thorough investigation. Throughout the investigation, Microsoft provided extensive support to the employee who raised the concern.

The report from the WSJ emerged the same day as a New York Times report that alleges Gates pursued women who worked for Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Last week, Bill and Melinda Gates announced that they are getting divorced.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at