Bill Gates Quit Microsoft Over Allegations of 'Inappropriate' Affair, Report Shows
Investigation launched into allegations of sexual relationship with staffer
Billionaire Bill Gates quit his role on Microsoft's board suddenly last year over allegations he had an "inappropriate" sexual relationship with a staffer, according to a bombshell new report.
Gates, Microsoft's co-founder, left the role abruptly in March 2020, claiming at the time that he wanted to dedicate more time to vaccine research.
However, it has now emerged that his affair with a female staffer was exposed, prompting an investigation by the company board.
The affair came to light after the Microsoft employee wrote to the board in 2019 detailing the affair that started in 2000.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the letter allegedly asked that Gates' estranged wife Melinda Gates, 56, read the letter.
Gates, 65, stepped down from the board while the investigation was still underway, shortly after it was launched.
The Microsoft board decided that Gates should step down after the relationship was deemed to be 'inappropriate', the Journal reported.
Gates left the board of Berkshire Hathaway on the same day.
The same day Gates quit Microsoft he also announced he was stepping down from his position with the board of Berkshire Hathaway, run by his friend Warren Buffet.
In a press release, the tech mogul said he would continue to serve as a technical adviser to Chief Executive Satya Nadella.
A Microsoft spokesman told the Wall Street Journal: "Microsoft 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."
A spokeswoman for Gates said his decision to leave the board had nothing to do with the affair.
"There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably."
The spokeswoman told the Journal his "decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter.
"In fact, he had expressed an interest in spending more time on his philanthropy starting several years earlier."
The revelations of Gates' extra-marital affair, the first time he has admitted cheating on his estranged wife, came within hours of two separate bombshell reports on the unraveling of their marriage.
The New York Times revealed on Sunday how Gates asked two women who worked at Microsoft and his philanthropic foundation out on dates while still married to Melinda.
Melinda, who now goes by Melinda French Gates, was also upset at the way allegations of sexual harassment against Michael Larson, one of Gates' key lieutenants and the manager of his personal fortune, were handled.
Meanwhile, The Daily Beast revealed Gates sought marriage advice from convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein during dozens of meetings at his $77 million Manhattan townhouse between 2011 and 2014, far more than had previously been reported.
Gates told Epstein his marriage to Melinda was "toxic," which both men found funny, according to the report.
Gates suggested Epstein become involved with the couple's philanthropic organization and "rehabilitate his image" after his 2008 conviction for soliciting a minor for prostitution, according to a person who attended the meetings.
Gates' visits to Epstein's "lair" was an escape from the marriage, according to the source, who said the two men "were very close."
Bill and Melinda Gates, one of the world's richest couples with a fortune of $130billion, announced this month they were getting divorced, with Melinda saying the marriage is "irretrievably broken" in divorce filings.
The tipping point appears to have been revelations about Gates' close ties to Jeffrey Epstein, which caught Melinda by surprise when they were first reported in October 2019.
Melinda reportedly told her husband she was uncomfortable with pedophile Epstein after the couple met him that year.
However, Bill continued a relationship with Epstein, despite her concerns.
Their friendship began in 2011, three years after Epstein was convicted of child sex crimes when he pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from a minor.
The Daily Beast reported on Sunday that the pair had met "dozens of times" at Epstein's palatial $77m "House of Horrors" townhouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side between 2011 and 2014 - far more than had previously been known.
The pair would chat about science and philanthropy, as well as joking and gossiping in a "men's club" atmosphere, the Daily Beast claimed.
Melinda Gates warned her husband Bill against any further contact with Jeffrey Epstein after the couple had an uncomfortable meeting with the convicted sex offender in 2013.
Melinda was "furious" at Bill's relationship with Epstein after the couple visited the predator's Upper East Side townhouse in September 2013.
The meeting proved a turning point in Bill's relationship with Epstein after Melinda expressed how uncomfortable she was with the sex offender and said she wanted nothing to do with him, the sources said.
Gates and Epstein became friendly in 2011 when Epstein pitched a fund to the Gates Foundation and JP Morgan.
When they met, Epstein had already spent a year in prison for sexually abusing children, but he was welcomed back into the upper echelons of New York society.
After their first meeting, Gates sent an email to colleagues saying of Epstein: "His lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me."
A spokesperson for Gates said the "characterization of his meetings with Epstein and others about philanthropy is inaccurate."
"Similarly, any claim that Gates spoke of his marriage or Melinda in a disparaging manner is false."
The same month the New York Times published details of Gates' friendship with Epstein in 2019, Melinda began consulting with divorce lawyers, which culminated in the announcement this month that their 27-year marriage was over.
In an interview with The Daily Mail, Gates biographer James Wallace revealed how Gates held naked parties with strippers in his bachelor days.
Wallace wrote two books on the Microsoft founder in the 1990s and uncovered eyebrow-raising details of Gates' frat-like life as a single man.
"Then they would have some pretty wild parties, where they would go out and get strippers in Seattle and bring them over to Bill's home," the former Seattle Post-Intelligencer investigative reporter said.
"He wasn't a choir boy back then, he wasn't just this little computer nerd.
"He did have a life back then."
In 1997, Wallace's second book on the billionaire, Overdrive: Bill Gates and the Race to Control Cyberspace, described the alleged naked parties at Gates' Laurelhurst, Washington home in even more lurid detail.
The former Post-Intelligencer reporter wrote that Gates "would throw in his Seattle home, for which Gates would visit one of Seattle's all-nude nightclubs and hire dancers to come to his home and swim naked with his friends in his indoor pool."
Wallace wrote that Gates's "womanizing" also put a strain on his nascent relationship with his now-estranged wife Melinda.
"Though Gates began dating French [Melinda's maiden name] in 1988, he continued to play the field for a while, especially when he was out of town on business when he would frequently hit on female journalists who covered Microsoft and the company industry," the author wrote.