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Microsoft founder Bill Gates on October 9, 2019 in Lyon, France during the funding conference of Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Photo: Jeff Pachoud/AFP (Getty Images)

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has stepped down from his role on Microsoft’s board of directors, the company announced today.

“It’s been a tremendous honor and privilege to have worked with and learned from Bill over the years,” said Microsoft CEO Satya 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.”

Microsoft independent board chair John W. Thompson also weighed in on Gates’ departure: “I want to express my deep appreciation to Bill for all his contributions to Microsoft. As a member of the Board, he challenged us to think big and then think even bigger. He leaves an enduring legacy of curiosity and insight that serves as an inspiration for us all.”

According to Microsoft, Gates will be dedicating more time to his many philanthropic pursuits with the foundation he started with his wife, Melinda French, in 2000, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation focuses on issues such as global health, development, education, and climate change.

Gates founded Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen, who died in 2018. Gates served as CEO until 2000, when Steve Ballmer stepped to the role, but he transitioned out of his day-to-day work at Microsoft eight years later in June 2008 to focus more on the foundation. Gates was also Microsoft’s chairman of the board until February 2014, when current CEO Satya Nadella took over the mantel from Ballmer.

Now that Gates has departed, 12 members remain on Microsoft’s board, which include Hugh Johnston, vice chairman and chief financial officer of PepsiCo, Teri L. List-Stoll, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Gap, Inc., and of course Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

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