Bye Bye, Bill! Bill Gates shows himself the door (or maybe he used the Windows)

April 2, 2020

2 min read

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What's going on here?

On 13 March 1986, Microsoft became a public company. Thirty-four years later, Founder and former CEO Bill Gates has decided to step down from the responsibility of being on the Board of Directors.

What does this mean?

Gates took to his LinkedIn to explain the decision and expressed his desire to focus more on philanthropic priorities relating to global health and development, education and climate change. He also mentions that he’ll be stepping down from the board of Berkshire Hathaway, a conglomerate headed by his long-time friend Warren Buffet.

What's the big picture effect?

In 2000, he stepped down from the role of CEO but continued to hold a full-time role with the company. Thereafter, in 2008, he officially resigned from the position of the Chief Software Architect and decided to remain on the Board of Directors of the technological giant. With Microsoft touching the trillion-dollar mark under the leadership of Satya Nadella, Gates believed this to be the right time to take further forward the vision of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

However, in an official press release, it was also communicated that Gates would still be a “technical advisor” to the current CEO Nadella. In 2017, Gates donated around $4.6bn to the Foundation reducing his shareholding to roughly around 1.3% from 24% back in 1996 after he had previously donated $16bn and $5.1bn of shares in 1999 and 2000 respectively. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic growing exponentially, support of influential individuals like Bill Gates could prove to be invaluable for the global healthcare systems. Last month, the Gates Foundation said it would commit an additional $100m to fight the coronavirus. The organisation pledged $10m earlier in the year. For Microsoft, these may be testing times, now that the global economy is entering a recession, the guidance of veterans like Gates would undoubtedly leave a void in the top-level management of the company.

Report written by Pratyush Chaturvedi

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