Bill Gates, billionaire and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, reacts during a panel session on the opening day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019.
Microsoft announced on Friday that Bill Gates is leaving the board. Gates is also stepping down from his position on the board of Berkshire Hathaway.
“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 said on LinkedIn. “The leadership at the Berkshire companies and Microsoft has never been stronger, so the time is right to take this step.”
“With respect to Microsoft, stepping down from the board in no way means stepping away from the company,” Gates said. “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.”
Gates co-founded Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen, who died in 2018. Gates was CEO until 2000 when Steve Ballmer took over the role. Microsoft’s current CEO, Satya Nadella, took over in 2014. Gates was director of the board at Microsoft until 2014 but began dedicating more of his time to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2008.
Gates is among Microsoft’s top shareholders. He owns 1.36% of shares, according to FactSet. The company went public in 1986 and is now one of the most highly valued companies in the world with a market cap of $1.21 trillion.
“It’s been a tremendous honor and privilege to have worked with and learned from Bill over the years,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
“Bill founded our company with a belief in the democratizing force of software and a passion to solve society’s most pressing challenges. And Microsoft and the world are better for it. The board has benefited from Bill’s leadership and vision. And Microsoft will continue to benefit from Bill’s ongoing technical passion and advice to drive our products and services forward. 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.”