End of an era as Bill Gates steps down from the Microsoft board

For many people, Bill Gates is synonymous with Microsoft, even though for years now he has had very little to do with the company he co-founded.

These days, Gates’ focus is mostly on philanthropic activities, like global health and development, education and climate change. He stepped down from the day to day running of Microsoft in 2008, but remained on the board. Today he announces that is no longer the case.

In a LinkedIn post, titled Focusing My Time, Gates writes:

I have made the decision to step down from both of the public boards on which I serve -- Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway [Warren Buffett's holding company] -- to dedicate more time to philanthropic priorities including global health and development, education, and my increasing engagement in tackling climate change. The leadership at the Berkshire companies and Microsoft has never been stronger, so the time is right to take this step.

Serving on the Berkshire board has been one of the greatest honors of my career. Warren and I were the best of friends long before I joined and will be long after. I look forward to our continued partnership as co-trustees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and co-founders of The Giving Pledge.

With respect to Microsoft, stepping down from the board in no way means stepping away from the company. 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.

I am looking forward to this next phase as an opportunity to maintain the friendships and partnerships that have meant the most to me, continue to contribute to two companies of which I am incredibly proud, and effectively prioritize my commitment to addressing some of the world’s toughest challenges.

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