Bill Gates was investigated after being accused of having an affair with a Microsoft staff member for several years.
The 65-year-old billionaire, who recently announced his divorce from wife Melinda after 27 years of marriage, was subjected to the probe last year after an engineer alleged in a letter that she had a sexual relationship with Mr Gates around 20 years ago.
Microsoft chiefs decided it was ‘not appropriate’ for co-founder Mr Gates to continue sitting on its board as a result, The Wall Street Journal reported.
But Mr Gates was thought to have resigned before the board’s investigation was finished.
A spokesperson for Mr Gates told The Journal there had been an affair almost 20 years ago, and that it ended ‘amicably’. They added, “his decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter”. When he left the board last year, Mr Gates said he was stepping down to focus on philanthropy.
Microsoft said in a statement over the weekend that it “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 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.”
Mr and Mrs Gates announced that despite the divorce, they would keep working together at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is one of the largest charitable organisations in the world.
It then emerged Mrs Gates, had reportedly started consulting divorce lawyers as far back as October 2019.
This was around the same time it was revealed Mr Gates had met with Jeffrey Epstein a number of times, who died by suicide in prison last year while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
There is no suggestion he had done anything wrong. An insider claimed Mr Gates had said his marriage was ‘loveless’ and the couple had been ‘living separate lives’ for some time before their split.
Mr Gates was formerly the world’s richest person and his fortune is estimated at more than £71 billion.