After Bill Gates resigned from Microsoft's board of directors in 2020, it has emerged that his resignation came after the board hired a law firm to investigate an alleged romantic relationship he had with an employee, it was reported.
According to "people familiar with the matter," a Microsoft engineer "alleged in a letter that she had a sexual relationship over years with Mr. Gates."
According to The Wall Street Journal, some board members did not feel it was suitable for Gates to remain as the director, but he resigned before the investigation was completed.
"There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably. Bill's 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," a representative for Gates told the outlet.
"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 spokesperson for Microsoft told CNN Business on Sunday, May 16.
The spokesperson continued, "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."
Meanwhile, The New York Times reported Gates had "developed a reputation for questionable conduct in work-related settings."
Gates allegedly pursued women who worked at both Microsoft and at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the NYT reported, citing "people with direct knowledge with overtures."
In 2006, Gates allegedly attended a presentation by a female Microsoft employee and emailed the woman to ask her out to dinner. "If this makes you uncomfortable, pretend it never happened," Gates allegedly wrote in the email. According to two sources, the woman was uncomfortable and pretended it didn't happen, the NYT reported.
A year or two later, Gates reportedly traveled with a woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, to New York on behalf of the Foundation and allegedly told her, "I want to see you. Will you have dinner with me?"
Bridgitt Arnold, a spokeswoman for Mr. Gates, told the Times, "It is extremely disappointing that there have been so many untruths published about the cause, the circumstances and the timeline of Bill Gates' divorce."
According to Arnold, the "claim of mistreatment of employees is also false," and "the rumors and speculation surrounding Gates' divorce are becoming increasingly absurd and it's unfortunate that people who have little to no knowledge of the situation are being characterized as 'sources.'"
As OK! previously reported, Bill and Melinda Gates parted ways after 27 years of marriage. Melinda reportedly filed for divorce on Monday, May 3. The pair did not have a prenup, and their assets will reportedly be split according to a separation agreement.