Microsoft cofounder, Bill Gates, is stepping down from the board of the company. The former CEO announced on Friday that he will be concentrating on philanthropic works of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“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 including global health and development, education, and my increasing engagement in tackling climate change,” Gates wrote on his LinkedIn page. “The leadership at the Berkshire companies and Microsoft has never been stronger, so the time is right to take this step.”
“Serving on the Berkshire board has been one of the greatest honors of my career. Warren and I were the best of friends long before I joined and will be long after. I look forward to our continued partnership as co-trustees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and co-founders of The Giving Pledge.”
It has been a long fulfilling adventure for Gates, and Microsoft and Berkshire have borne testimony of an incredible 45 years journey that has treated the world to a taste of technology that was only imagined.
In 1975, Paul Allen and Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft. Gates had dropped out of college and moved to Albuquerque, in New Mexico in search of answers to innovative questions his inquisitive mind was full of. There he teamed up with his childhood friend Allen to set up Microsoft.
Five years later, Microsoft was signing an agreement with IBM to develop the MS DOS operating system. It was a breakthrough that spurred spontaneous growth for the company. In 1986, Microsoft went public. A year later at age 31, Bill Gates was making history as the youngest self-made billionaire.
Gates served as Microsoft CEO until 2000 when he made way for Steve Ballmer. Eight years later, he relieved himself of the day to day work in the company. In 2014, Gates resigned his position as chairman of the board dedicating much of his time to charity works.
Nevertheless, Gate was still a member of the Board of Directors until Friday when announced his decision to put that position behind his philanthropic priorities. But he said he’s never running away from Microsoft.
“With respect to Microsoft, stepping down from the board in no way means stepping away from the company. Microsoft will always be an important 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. I feel more optimistic than ever about the progress the company is making and how it can continue to benefit the world,” he said.
Gates will still serve as technology advisor to Satya Nadella, who personally requested that in 2014 when Gates stepped down as the chairman of the Microsoft’s Board. Satya said he has learned a lot from Gates and looks forward to continuing learning.
“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,” Satya said in a statement. “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.”
Gates reiterates his commitment to ensure that Microsoft and Berkshire stay strong in the tech space, while he pursues philanthropy as his next priority.
“I am looking forward to this next phase as an opportunity to maintain the friendship and partnerships that have meant the most to me, continue to contribute to two companies of which I am incredibly proud, and effectively prioritize my commitment to addressing some of the world’s toughest challenges,” he said
Bill Gates is famously the second richest person in the world after Jeff Bezos, with a fortune worth $103.6 billion according to Forbes. The 65 years old has reportedly reduced his stake in Microsoft with $4.6 billion donations.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has doled out $100 million to combat coronavirus. The foundation appears eager to do more in its bid to solve problems, especially in developing countries.