Bill Gates is slowly but surely leaving Microsoft for good. The legendary founder stepped down as CEO of the company in 2000, then left his role as chairman of the company in 2014 — but he still held a position on the board. Now, however, he’s leaving that post too — along with his position on the board of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.
Gates co-founded Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen, who died in 2018. He’ll still be somewhat involved with the company as a “technology adviser,” though it’s not clear exactly how hands-on that role is, and how much of it is symbolic. He was given the title of technology adviser to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at Nadella’s request when Gates stopped serving as chairman of the board. Still, this marks arguably the biggest step back from Microsoft for Gates since he stepped down as CEO.
“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. The board has benefited from Bill’s leadership and vision,” said Nadella in a press release.
Gates is still one of Microsoft’s top shareholders, currently owning 1.36 percent of the company, according to FactSet. Microsoft is one of the most highly valued companies in the world, with a current market cap of $1.21 trillion.
So why is Gates leaving the company he helped found? As you might expect, to spend more time on his philanthropic efforts as part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation is aimed at addressing issues related to global health, education, and climate change.
Recently, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has helped play a role in developing a vaccine for the COVID-19 outbreak, commonly known as coronavirus. The foundation is contributing up to $50 million to the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, which is working with the World Health Organization to stop the spread of the virus. Previously, the foundation committed $5 million to public health agencies in the hard-hit Seattle area that are dealing with the outbreak.