The Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who recently announced that he is getting a divorce from his wife Melinda Gates after 27 years of marriage, was being probed for his ‘romantic’ relationship with an employee when he stepped down as the director of the tech company, reports have revealed.
In the year 2019, the board members of Microsoft Corp. decided to pursue an investigation into the billionaire’s prior relationship with a female Microsoft employee. However, the probe remained inconclusive as the tech mogul resigned from his post in March 2020, before the probe could be concluded.
In 2019, the company learnt that Gates was attempting to re-start his two-decade-old romantic relationship with one of his employees. According to a report by Dow Jones, the board members who deemed the matter inappropriate hired a law firm to conduct an investigation into it.
The matter had come to light after a Microsoft engineer alleged in a letter that she had a sexual relationship over years with Bill Gates, the people familiar with the case said.
During the probe, some board members opined that it was no longer viable for Gates to sit as a director at the software company he started and led for decades. Since the board deemed the matter inappropriate, it reviewed the matter and held a thorough investigation with the help of an external law firm, the software giant said. Before the probe could be concluded, Gates stepped down from his post as a director of the software company.
‘There was an affair 20 years ago’
“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,” Microsoft said in a statement. “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”.
Refuting the claims, a spokeswoman for Gates said: “There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably.” “His 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,” the spokesperson confirmed.
Gates had in March 2020 announced that he was stepping down from the board to devote more time to serve humanity. Gates had stopped being involved in day-to-day operations at the firm more than a decade before he resigned from his position.
Gates co-founded the software company in 1975 and served as its CEO until 2000, the same year his foundation was started, and was chairman until February 2014.
Bill Gates was a womanizer and the media and Melinda knew about it: Biographer James Wallace
Recently, Gates’ biographer had accused Gates of being a ‘womanizer’ since his early years. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Wallace said that the billionaire was far more than just “a little computer nerd”. He claimed that Bill Gates held “wild” naked parties with strippers in his bachelor days.
He furthered that though Gates fixation was well known, it was not reported since the billionaire spoon fed stories to media houses like the New York Times, which did not want to miff the tech giant as it would stop the “flow of information”.
“His womanizing was well known, although not well reported” and his wife “was well aware of Gates’s womanizing,” and “consequently their relationship ran hot and cold,” Wallace said.
Unsubstantiated claims of Gates’ affair doing the rounds
Recently, after Bill Gates announced his divorce, reports started pouring in that the billionaire might have reverted to his old habits. Some reports claimed that Gates’ relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Ann Winblad was one of the reasons behind his split with Melinda Gates.
It is to be noted that Gates and Winblad broke up in 1987 but despite that, the duo went on vacation together alone for a weekend every year throughout his marriage to Melinda.
Another unsubstantiated claim began doing the rounds that Gates was having an affair with a 36-year-old Chinese interpreter who works for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Zhe ‘Shelly’ Wang, however, refuted the claims that she was responsible for the divorce of the couple.