Gates’ divorce drama: Did Bill Gates’ alleged affair prompt board resignations?

Bill Gates speaks about the onset of COVID-19 in the early days of the global outbreak at the American Association for Advancement of Science meeting (GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop).

Bill Gates resigned from Microsoft’s board of directors after allegations surfaced that the company’s co-founder had an inappropriate, long-term sexual relationship with an employee, the Wall Street Journal reported late Sunday.

According to the Journal, the board decided “that Bill Gates had to step down from his board in 2020 after conducting an investigation into the billionaire’s previous romantic relationship with a Microsoft employee that was deemed inappropriate.”

At the time of his resignation from the Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway boards in March 2020, Gates said he wanted to spend more time on his work through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In the letter posted on LinkedIn, 64-year-old Gates wrote that he would “spend more time on philanthropic priorities such as global health and development, education, and my increasing commitment to fighting climate change. The leadership at Berkshire and Microsoft has never been stronger than it is now. Therefore, the time has come to take this step. “

A little over a year later, on May 2, 2021, he and his 27-year-old wife Melinda shocked the philanthropy and tech world when they announced on Twitter that they were going to end their marriage.

Since then, speculation has swirled about the possible causes of the breakup, who gets what if assets are split up and what will happen to the foundation.

On the same day the Journal published the story of the Board of Directors investigation, the New York Times released additional details critical to Bill Gates’ professional conduct, including inappropriate behavior towards female employees.

According to the Times, “… Bill Gates had also developed a reputation for questionable behavior in work-related settings… Occasionally, at least, Mr. Gates persecuted women who worked for him at Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. According to people who know his overtures directly. “

Although the Gateses announced plans to divorce two weeks ago, the couple has reportedly been meeting with lawyers since 2019 to clarify the details needed to split up more than $ 130 billion in assets and the largest in the world Fund the foundation.

A spokesman for Gateses denied that the board’s resignation had anything to do with the matter, which took place in 2000 and ended without a hitch. “Almost 20 years ago there was an affair that ended amicably,” the spokesman told the journal.

She added that Bill Gates’ decision to step down from the board was in no way related to the matter. In fact, he had expressed an interest in spending more time on philanthropy from a few years on. “

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