It’s the end of an era at Microsoft.
The giant company announced Friday that co-founder and Technology Advisor Bill Gates stepped down from the board of directors to dedicate more time to his philanthropic efforts, including global health, development, education and his increasing work tackling climate change. He’ll continue to serve as Technology Advisor to CEO Satya Nadella and other executives.
His book, How To Avoid a Climate Disaster, is set to comes out this summer. A recent project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation developed an at-home test kit for residents of the Seattle area, the region in the U.S. hit hardest by the coronavirus. Microsoft is headquartered in nearby Redmond.
Gates, 64, is also resigning from the board of Warren Buffet’s investment holding company Berkshire Hathaway.
Gates had first transitioned out of a day-to-day role in the company in 2008 to spend more time on the Foundation. He served as chairman of the board until 2014.
Gates founded Microsoft in 1975 with the late Paul Allen. Their first product was Altair BASIC. Its breakthrough was Windows, which became the world’s most-used desktop operating system
“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,” said Nadella. “The board has benefited from Bill’s leadership and vision. And Microsoft will continue to benefit from Bill’s ongoing technical passion and advice to drive our products and services forward.”
With Gates’ departure, the board will consist of 12 members, including Nadella; John W. Thompson, Microsoft independent chair; Reid Hoffman, partner at Greylock Partners; Hugh Johnston, vice chairman and CFO of PepsiCo; Teri L. List-Stoll, CFO of Gap; Sandra Peterson, operating partner, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice; Penny Pritzker, founder and chairman, PSP Partners; Charles Scharf, CEO of Wells Fargo; Arne Sorenson, CEO, Marriott International.; John Stanton, chairman of Trilogy Equity Partners; Emma Walmsley, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline; and Padmasree Warrior, founder and CEO of Fable Group.