Bill Gates is practically synonymous with Microsoft. He founded the company in 1975 with Paul Allen and even after stepping down from a direct role in the company, he has continued to sit on the software and technology giant’s board as an advisor. It would appear that Gates is closing that chapter as he announced recently that he will be stepping down from his role on public boards with both Berkshire Hathaway and Microsoft in order to deepen philanthropic pursuits.
Bill Gates made his announcement of exit from the Berkshire Hathaway and Microsoft boards on March 13, 2020 via a LinkedIn post. According to Gates, the decision is made with the intention of furthering his pursuits in various philanthropic activities such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Giving Pledge.
“I have made the decision to step down from both of the public boards on which I serve – Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway,” Gates wrote. “To dedicate more time to philanthropic priorities including global health and development, education, and my increasing engagement in tackling climate change.”
It was back in 2006 that Gates announced that he would be transferring out of Microsoft’s active operations and transitioned to an advisory role with the board. Despite needing to be convinced with some difficulty of the value of developing the Xbox, Gates was still a respected voice within the company. Indeed, Gates has also had a heavy hand in various efforts to improve healthcare and education and combat poverty through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which was co-founded alongside fellow billionaire Warren Buffet in 2000.
With his exit to focus in on the Foundation and other efforts, even if Bill Gates has promised not to completely exit the Microsoft scene, it would appear the Gates era of Microsoft has reached an official bookend as he puts more fully into other pursuits.