|Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates in New York in September 2018. The pair announced earlier this month that they were ending their marriage. (Photo by= LUDOVIC MARIN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/Getty Images)|
[Asia News Communication = Reporter Reakkana] The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday (May 16), Bill Gates left the Microsoft board in 2020 while the board started an investigation about the billionaire's romantic relationship with a female employee, AFP reported.
The founder and former head of the American technology giant stepped down as board chair in March 2020. "Microsoft Corp board members decided that Bill Gates needed to step down from its board in 2020 as they pursued an investigation into the billionaire's prior romantic relationship with a female Microsoft employee that was deemed inappropriate," the Journal reported, citing people close to the matter. This was "an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably", a spokeswoman for Gates told the Journal. The employee, an engineer, claimed in a letter to have had a sexual relationship with Gates "over years", the Journal reported.
Meanwhile, according to the Journal, some board members also asked about links between Gates and disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in jail in 2019 while awaiting trial for allegedly trafficking minors. A spokeswoman stated that Gates left Microsoft to focus more on his philanthropic organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates and his wife Melinda, who co-founded their charity two decades ago to battle global poverty and disease, announced their divorce on May 3 after 27 years of marriage.