Recently divorced billionaire and founder of the Microsoft Corporation, Bill Gates was under investigation in 2019 over an alleged affair he had with an employee, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.
According to WSJ, the board members of Microsoft Corp decided that Gates ought to step down as director of the board to pave way for investigations into the alleged sexual relationship the billionaire had with a former Microsoft engineer in 2000.
Sources familiar with the matter say the board decided to hire a law firm to probe the accusation after the female staffer wrote to the board claiming to have had a sexual relationship with the billionaire which lasted years.
WSJ reported that some of the board members deemed the relationship Gates had with the junior staffer as inappropriate and didn't see it right to have Gates sit as director until the board’s investigation was concluded and a formal decision on the matter reached.
“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 Microsoft spokesperson said.
“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.” Microsoft said.
Gates resigned from his position as director in 2019 before the investigation into his alleged affair with the woman was concluded.
After his resignation, the billionaire through his LinkedIn page said he wanted to take time off to concentrate in his philanthropy even as he maintained that he would continue serve as a technical adviser to Chief Executive Satya Nadella.
The WSJ also revealed that members of the Microsoft board became aware of the letter from the female engineer in 2019 when she demanded changes to her job while sharing details of her relationship with the billionaire.
Gates and his Wife Melinda French announced earlier this month that they were ending their 27-year-old marriage. In a joint statement posted on twitter, the couple said, "We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.
Although the couple did not disclose the rift that broke their marriage, Melinda had in a divorce petition said hers and Gates marriage was "irretrievably broken."