Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates announced on Friday, 13 March, that he will be stepping down from his position on Microsoft’s board of directors to focus his efforts on philanthropy as part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The announcement was made on Gates’s Linkedin Profile, which read: “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 will, however, continue to serve as a technology advisor for the companies CEO Satya Nadella and the other executives still at the company.
In a statement to Bill Gates on the Microsoft website, Nadella said it been a ‘tremendous honour and privilege to have worked with and learned from Bill over the years.’
John W. Thompson, Microsoft independent board chair, had this to say about Gates decision to step down “On behalf of our shareholders and the Board, I want to express my deep appreciation to Bill for all his contributions to Microsoft. As a member of the Board, he challenged us to think big and then think even bigger.”
Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time Gates has distanced himself from the company to focus on his efforts on philanthropy work. He first ended his day-to-day role at Microsoft in 2008 to better focus on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
This time around, it seems as though his efforts will be focused on the coronavirus, calling it a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ pandemic, with the foundation partnering with Wellcome and MasterCard assist in finding treatment for the virus.
We don’t yet have all the tools we need to fight COVID-19. This is an important step toward having treatments, while we also explore vaccines and diagnostics. Thanks to @wellcometrust and @mastercard for launching this effort with us. https://t.co/M8AJ3083zK
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) March 10, 2020