Microsoft Corp. today announced that Co-Founder and Technology Advisor Bill Gates stepped down from the company’s Board of Directors to dedicate more time to his philanthropic priorities including global health, development, education, and his increasing engagement in tackling climate change.
Gates and the Gates Foundation was recently more involved in responding to the coronavirus pandemic, and the Gates Foundation has donated $50 million towards the development of tests for the COVID-19 virus.
Bill Gates is also stepping down from the board of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, where he had a seat since 2004.
“I have made the decision to step down from both of the public boards on which I serve – Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway – to dedicate more time to philanthropic priorities,” Gates wrote, reports BusinessInsider. “The leadership at the Berkshire companies and Microsoft has never been stronger, so the time is right to take this step.”
On June 27, 2008, Gates transitioned out of a day-to-day role in the company to spend more time on his work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He served as Microsoft’s chairman of the board until February 4, 2014.
“It’s been a tremendous honor and privilege to have worked with and learned from Bill over the years. Bill founded our company with a belief in the democratizing force of software and a passion to solve society’s most pressing challenges. And Microsoft and the world are better for it. The board has benefited from Bill’s leadership and vision. And Microsoft will continue to benefit from Bill’s ongoing technical passion and advice to drive our products and services forward. I am grateful for Bill’s friendship and look forward to continuing to work alongside him to realize our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
Bill Gates will continue to serve as Technology Advisor to CEO Satya Nadella and other leaders in the company.
“With respect to Microsoft, stepping down from the board in no way means stepping away from the company,” Bill noted. “Microsoft will always be an important part of my life’s work and I will continue to be engaged with Satya and the technical leadership to help shape the vision and achieve the company’s ambitious goals.”
With Gates’ departure, the Board will consist of 12 members, including John W. Thompson, Microsoft independent chair; Reid Hoffman, partner at Greylock Partners; Hugh Johnston, vice chairman and chief financial officer of PepsiCo; Teri L. List-Stoll, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Gap, Inc.; Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft; Charles W. Scharf, chief executive officer and president of Wells Fargo & Co.; Arne Sorenson, president and CEO, Marriott International Inc.; and Emma Walmsley, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK).
“On behalf of our shareholders and the Board, I want to express my deep appreciation to Bill for all his contributions to Microsoft. As a member of the Board, he challenged us to think big and then think even bigger. He leaves an enduring legacy of curiosity and insight that serves as an inspiration for us all,” said John W. Thompson, Microsoft independent board chair.