Bill Gates, the world's second-richest person, has announced that he was stepping down from the board of directors of Microsoft, the company he co-founded in 1975 with the late Paul Allen.
"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," Gates said via LinkedIn on Friday.
"The leadership at the Berkshire companies and Microsoft has never been stronger, so the time is right to take this step," Gates said.
After leading Microsoft as CEO for the first 25 years of its existence, Gates left the job in 2000 in favour of Steve Ballmer, who was in turn succeeded by Satya Nadella in 2014, Efe news reported.
Gates, now 64, remained director of the Microsoft board until 2014, though he began to shift his attention to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which he runs along with his wife.
"With respect to Microsoft, stepping down from the board in no way means stepping away from the company," Gates said. "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. I feel more optimistic than ever about the progress the company is making and how it can continue to benefit the world."
"It's been a tremendous honour and privilege to have worked with and learned from Bill over the years," Nadella said.
Allen, a childhood friend of Gates, ended his active role with Microsoft in 1983 and gave up his seat on the board in 2000. He died of cancer-related complications in 2018.
Gates owns 1.36 per cent of the shares in Microsoft, a company with a market capitalization of $1.21 trillion, and Forbes magazine estimates that he is worth $96.5 billion, second only to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.