Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Bill Gates arrives at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, April 16, 2018.

CHARLES PLATIAU/Reuters

Microsoft conducted a probe into co-founder Bill Gates’ involvement with an employee almost 20 years ago after it was told in 2019 that he had tried to start a romantic relationship with the person, the company said on Monday.

Microsoft said it had received a concern in the latter half of 2019 that Gates “had sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000,” a Microsoft spokesman 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,” the statement said.

Story continues below advertisement

The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that Microsoft’s board had decided that Gates’ involvement with the female employee was inappropriate and he needed to step down in 2020, citing people familiar with the matter.

The Microsoft spokesman declined to comment on whether the board had decided Gates should go.

In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, a spokesman for Gates said his decision to leave the board of Microsoft had nothing to do with his involvement with an employee.

“There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably. Bill’s decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter,” the statement said.

“In fact, he had expressed an interest in spending more time on his philanthropy starting several years earlier.”

A spokesman for the Gates Foundation told Reuters it stood by the statement to the paper.

The billionaire, who co-founded Microsoft in 1975 and served as its CEO until 2000, said in March 2020 that he was stepping down from the board to focus more on philanthropy.

Story continues below advertisement

Gates and his wife Melinda filed for divorce earlier this month after 27 years of marriage.

Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies