The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has shifted some of its efforts in recent months to assist with the coronavirus outbreak. While addressing the outbreak and the spread thereof the Microsoft co-founder has made a massive decision. Bill Gates is stepping down from the Microsoft board of directors.
He has made this decision to “dedicate more time to his philanthropic priorities including global health, development, education, and his increasing engagement in tackling climate change.”
Not only is Bill Gates stepping down from the company he helped found in 1975, he will also be stepping down from his position on the Berkshire Hathaway board. He will still be a “technology advisor” to current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and other executives.
Gates made a statement on LinkedIn that read: “I have made the decision to step down from both of the public boards on which I serve – Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway – to dedicate more time to philanthropic priorities including global health and development, education, and my increasing engagement in tackling climate change. The leadership at the Berkshire companies and Microsoft has never been stronger, so the time is right to take this step. With respect to Microsoft, stepping down from the board in no way means stepping away from the company. Microsoft will always be an important part of my life’s work and I will continue to be engaged with Satya and the technical leadership to help shape the vision and achieve the company’s ambitious goals.”
This move has been many years in the making, of course. He first stepped aside as the Microsoft CEO in 2000 and gave the reigns to Steve Ballmer. Then he left his day-to-day roles at the company in 2008, and in 2014 he stepped down as the chairman of the board of Microsoft. It was always in Gates’ plan to focus on public health and pandemics, with malaria being the biggest pandemic the foundation is trying to tackle.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has publicly announced it is committing $100 million to the fight against the coronavirus, including a collaboration with Wellcome and Mastercard that’s funding an accelerator project for treatments.
The current Microsoft CEO also made a statement, with Satya Nadella adding: “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. 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.”