Bill Gates, the most recognizable face in the global technology firmament for close to four decades, has stepped down from the Board of Microsoft, the company he co-founded in the 1980s that went on to create an entire ecosystem around computing and the internet and is today considered among the top-three firms in the business.
The reason for Gates’ stepping down from the board was to find more time to further his philanthropic endeavours though that doesn’t mean that he would cut the umbilical cord completely. Bill Gates would continue to function as technology advisor to CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft announced on Friday night.
This is the lowest level of involvement with the company that Gates has ever had, having piloted the company that he and his college friend Paul Allen formed in the 1970s while still pursuing their respective education. It was in 2008 that Gates left the company to dedicate more time to his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that channelled most of his wealth back to society in the areas of healthcare and education.
However, all his philanthropic activity didn’t stop Bill Gates from helming the Board at Microsoft till 2014. So, this is the first time in the history of the company that there would be a boardroom without Gates, though it still gives Nadella the opportunity to reach out in case they require an additional brain during brainstorming sessions.
In a press statement Satya Nadella said, “It’s been a tremendous honour and privilege to have worked with and learned from Bill over the years. I am grateful for Bill’s friendship and look forward to continuing to work alongside him to realize our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”
Gates had vacated the CEO seat in 2000, handing it over to Steve Ballmer while in 2014 he gave up the role of chairman coinciding with Nadella’s taking over as the third CEO of Microsoft. Bill Gates has always been looked at as a geek who worked with his team to continuously present new computing options for the mundane stuff that users encounter on a daily basis.
Bill Gates’ Post on LinkedIn:
“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. The leadership at the Berkshire companies and Microsoft has never been stronger, so the time is right to take this step.
“Serving on the Berkshire board has been one of the greatest honors of my career. Warren and I were the best of friends long before I joined and will be long after. I look forward to our continued partnership as co-trustees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and co-founders of The Giving Pledge.
“With respect to Microsoft, stepping down from the board in no way means stepping away from the company. Microsoft will always be an important part of my life’s work and I will continue to be engaged with Satya and the technical leadership to help shape the vision and achieve the company’s ambitious goals. I feel more optimistic than ever about the progress the company is making and how it can continue to benefit the world.
“I am looking forward to this next phase as an opportunity to maintain the friendships and partnerships that have meant the most to me, continue to contribute to two companies of which I am incredibly proud, and effectively prioritize my commitment to addressing some of the world’s toughest challenges.”