Bill Gates stepping down from Microsoft board to focus on philanthropic priorities

Microsoft's billionaire co-founder Bill Gates announced Friday he is stepping down from the company's board of directors to focus more on his philanthropic initiatives.

Gates scaled back from his day-to-day role at the company in 2008 and stepped down as chairman of Microsoft's board in 2014. In addition to stepping down, he's also vacating his seat on the board of Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate headed by fellow billionaire Warren Buffett.

In recent years, Gates has taken an active role in the nonprofit Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the charity he founded with his wife. He will continue to serve as a technology adviser to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

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Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said Friday that he is stepping down from the company's board to focus on philanthropy. Gates was Microsoft's CEO until 2000 and since then has gradually scaled back his involvement in the company he started with Paul Allen in 1975. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said Friday that he is stepping down from the company's board to focus on philanthropy. Gates was Microsoft's CEO until 2000 and since then has gradually scaled back his involvement in the company he started with Paul Allen in 1975. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

"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," Gates wrote in a LinkedIn post.

In a statement from Microsoft, Nadella said it was a "tremendous honor and privilege to have worked with and learned from Bill over the years."

"Bill founded our company with a belief in the democratizing force of software and a passion to solve society’s most pressing challenges," he said. "And Microsoft and the world are better for it."

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The Microsoft board will consist of 12 members. A replacement for Gates wasn't named.

In February, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced it was donating $100 million to combat the coronavirus.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.