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Gates Steps Down from Microsoft Board but Stays as Advisor

Microsoft announced on Friday that Bill Gates is no longer part of Microsoft's board.

Gates has stepped down from the board and plans to focus his time with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which allocates monies for charitable work. He has been active with the foundation since June 2008, per the announcement. Gates also announced in a LinkedIn post that he's leaving the board of Berkshire Hathaway, as well.

Gates' foundation work focuses on "global health and development, education, and my increasing engagement in tackling climate change," Gates said in the LinkedIn post.

Gates will still have a role at Microsoft. He'll continue to serve as technology advisor to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, plus "other leaders in the company."

Gates co-founded Microsoft with Paul Allen, who died in 2018 after a struggle against cancer. The two early on learned programming together, in part, by dumpster diving at DEC, according to Allen's memoir. Gates long served as Microsoft's CEO, but dropped that role in 2000, becoming chairman. At that time, Steve Ballmer assumed the CEO position.

Gates served as the board's chairman through Feb. 4, 2014, according to the announcement.

Ballmer, whom Gates had hired in 1980 and later became president of Microsoft in 1998, announced his retirement from the CEO position in 2013. Current CEO Nadella assumed that role in 2014, becoming Microsoft's third chief executive. Nadella is typically credited for steering the company's Azure cloud efforts, as well as its artificial intelligence focus, plus its more friendly attitude toward open source software.

Microsoft's board currently consists of 12 members, per the announcement:

  • John W. Thompson, Microsoft independent chair
  • Reid Hoffman, partner at Greylock Partners
  • Hugh Johnston, vice chairman and chief financial officer of PepsiCo
  • Teri L. List-Stoll, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Gap Inc.
  • Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft
  • Sandra E. Peterson, operating partner, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice
  • Penny Pritzker, founder and chairman, PSP Partners
  • Charles W. Scharf, chief executive officer and president of Wells Fargo & Co.
  • Arne Sorenson, president and CEO, Marriott International Inc.
  • John W. Stanton, chairman of Trilogy Equity Partners
  • Emma Walmsley, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK)
  • Padmasree Warrior, founder, CEO and president, Fable Group Inc.

"Microsoft will continue to benefit from Bill's ongoing technical passion and advice to drive our products and services forward," said Nadella in a released statement. "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."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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