In what has likely been an extremely hard decision to take after being affiliated with the business for 44-years, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has officially stepped down from the company’s board.

Gates has slowly been removing himself from the company that he co-founded in 1975 with Paul Allen.

After being the face of the Redmond-based business for a very long time, Gates left his role as CEO of Microsoft two decades ago in 2000 in order to found and focus on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that he created with his wife, Melinda. He then removed himself from his full-time Microsoft role eight years later in 2008, effectively ending his tenure as a Microsoft employee.

Now, it seems that he wants to continue to place additional efforts into his foundation and concentrate more on his philanthropic work without any distractions that being part of Microsoft’s board may have been bringing. When current CEO Satya Nadella took over the role, Gates started in a “technology advisor” capacity to the CEO and has served in that role for approximately six years as well as being an active member of the company’s board – both of those will have undoubtedly placed time constraints on Gates’ time and ability to throw himself into other projects.

With Bill Gates leaving the board, it seems that Nadella still expects the Microsoft icon to contribute to the business in some capacity – likely continuing his role as technology advisor – and still act as a trusted mentor:

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.

Although Gates will still forever bleed Microsoft, this decision seems to mark the end of an extremely fruitful relationship between the business and the forward-thinking leader who founded the company over four decades ago. Bill and Melinda Gates have changed millions of lives all over the globe with their philanthropic and charitable efforts and now, with more time on this hands, let’s hope those efforts are ramped up.

(Source: Microsoft)

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