Bill and Melinda Gates.GETTY
Microsoft investigated an alleged infidelity by one of its founders, Bill Gates, with a company employee. The computer company has admitted this Monday that at the end of 2019 it began the internal investigation after some members of the board of directors were notified by the worker that Gates had tried to start a romantic relationship with her in 2000.
The Wall Street Journal
assured this Sunday that this infidelity played a role for the businessman, one of the richest in the world, to leave the presidency of the board of directors in March 2020. Gates and his wife Melinda announced their separation on May 3 after 27 years married .
A statement sent to the US newspaper affirmed that the investigation of the event that occurred in 2000 was thorough and had outside help.
“He enlisted the help of a law firm to conduct a thorough investigation.
Throughout the investigation, Microsoft provided broad support to the employee who gave the notice, "says the text released this Monday.
Bill and Melinda Gates announce divorce after 27 years of marriage
The investigation, however, was not concluded. Gates left his position at the company before the resolution was reported. The WSJ claimed, citing anonymous sources, that board members decided that Gates should step down as president while delving into the past of the relationship that was deemed inappropriate. A spokesman told the newspaper that the romantic adventure "ended amicably" and downplayed the fact. "His departure from the board was not related in any way to this matter," added the spokesman, who said that the businessman had decided to focus on his philanthropic activities.
The billionaire announced in March 2020 that he was stepping down as chairman of the board to devote more time to philanthropy.
Microsoft explained then that Gates had not been actively involved in the day-to-day activities of the computer giant that he created in 1975 with Paul Allen and of which he was CEO until 2000, the year of the alleged affair and the same that marked the beginning of the foundation.
Gates was president of this organization for 14 years.
The belated investigation into the case came in a context marked by a wave of discussions about the treatment of women at Microsoft and in the midst of the debate surrounding the MeToo movement.
Since 2000, Microsoft has implemented protocols to investigate allegations and has strengthened them to make them more reliable, according to the company.
The case has precedents in the sector. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich resigned after the technology firm's board of directors was informed that he had had a consensual relationship with a subordinate, even though it had ended years ago and predated his appointment to the position. highest of the company. The board conducted an internal investigation and through outside attorneys to confirm that company policies had been violated, and made the announcement in June 2018.
Bill and Melinda Gates announced their divorce earlier this month after 27 years of marriage. And some reports even indicate that she had expressed concern about her dealings with the sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein. Gates' spokeswoman denied that possibility. "The description of his meetings with Epstein and others on philanthropy is inaccurate," he said. "The rumors and speculation surrounding Gates' divorce are getting more and more absurd," he added.