Bill Gates Steps Down From Microsoft Board to Focus on Philanthropy Efforts

On Friday, Microsoft announced that its co-founder, Bill Gates, was stepping down from the company's board of directors, according to CNBC. Gates started the software giant back in 1975 along with Paul Allen, who passed away in 2018. Up until 2014, Gates served as the board's director until he was replaced by current CEO Satya Nadella. In 2008, he began to pivot his focus to The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"It's been a tremendous honor and privilege to have worked with and learned from Bill over the years," Nadella wrote in a statement. "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," the CEO continued. "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."

The outlet also notes that Gates is one of Microsoft's top shareholders, owning about 1.36 percent. Microsoft itself was recently valued at roughly $1.21 trillion. Along with leaving the board at Microsoft, Gates is also stepping down from the board at Berkshire Hathaway.

Gates, meanwhile, will continue to focus more of his time on the Gates Foundation. Founded in 2000, the philanthropical endeavor dedicated to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty worldwide. In the U.S., it also focuses on expanding educational opportunities along with access to information technology. Gates, along with his wife Melinda, serve as trustees along with fellow billionaire Warren Buffet, who's also the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

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Back in June, Gates had used some of his foundation's resources to expose a striking disconnect between the most common causes of death in the U.S. vs. what's more frequently covered by the media -- and individual web searches.

The move could also free up some time for Gates to do a few more cameos. In late 2019, Gates played himself on the series finale of HBO's tech comedy Silicon Valley. Back in 2018, he also showed up (again, as himself) in an episode of the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, which concluded its 12-season run back in May.