Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates reportedly stepped down from the company’s board in 2020 as it investigated an alleged affair with an employee.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Gates resigned before the board’s investigation was finished, citing a source familiar with the matter.
A Microsoft spokesperson told Sky News: “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 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.”
An unnamed spokeswoman for Gates told the Journal that there was an affair almost 20 years ago, and that it ended “amicably”, adding: “His decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter.”
In March last year, Mr Gates said he was leaving the Microsoft board “to dedicate more time to philanthropic priorities including global health and development, education, and my increasing engagement in tackling climate change”.
He said he would also be giving up his seat on the board of Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate headed by fellow billionaire Warren Buffett.
Mr Gates said he planned to dedicate more time to his foundation with wife Melinda, which they founded in 2000.
The couple announced they were getting divorced earlier this month after “a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship”.
Gates, the fourth richest man in the world with a net worth of $130bn (£93bn), married Melinda in January 1994.
The couple, who married on a golf course on the Hawaiian island of Lanai 27 years ago, have three children together – Jennifer, Rory and Phoebe.