Bill Gates Steps Down From Microsoft Board To Focus on Philanthropy
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Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has stepped down from the company’s board to dedicate more time to his philanthropic activities, the tech giant said. He will, however, continue to serve as technology advisor to company chief Satya Nadella and other leaders.
The 64-year-old founded Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen and while it was operating systems that made it a household name, the company has since diversified itself into various aspects of technology. Last year, Microsoft became the third publicly listed US company, after Apple and Amazon, to have a market valuation of over $1 trillion.
During his time at the company, Gates served in varying roles from chief executive officer to chairman. He transitioned out of being involved with the company’s day-to-day operations in 2008 to focus on the Bill and Melinda Foundation and served as chairman of the board till 2014.
“It’s been a tremendous honor and privilege to have worked with and learned from Bill over the years. 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,” Nadella said in a statement.
Nadella added that Microsoft will continue to benefit from Gates’ advice about products and services going forward.
“As a member of the board, he challenged us to think big and then think even bigger. He leaves an enduring legacy of curiosity and insight that serves as an inspiration for us all,” said Microsoft independent board chair John Thompson.
Gates is one of the most widely recognized billionaire philanthropists in the world, both in personal capacity and as a major benefactor of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with his wife and Warren Buffett.
Launched in 2000, it is reportedly the largest such private foundation in the world. According to its official website, it had an endowment of $46.8 billion as of December 31, 2018. Since inception, it says it has granted $50.1 billion in payments till the end of 2018.
From 1994 through 2018, the couple gave the foundation more than $36.0 billion.
With multiple offices across the globe, the foundation focuses on improving people’s health and lifting those in extreme poverty in developing countries while in the US, it helps those with the fewest resources with access to opportunities to succeed in school and in life.