Gates stepping down from the board is apparently due to similar motivations, with a press release announcing the news citing a desire to “dedicate more time to his philanthropic priorities.” Gates will still serve as a “technology advisor” to current CEO Satya Nadella, a role he began in 2014 at Nadella’s request when he stepped down from serving as chairman of Microsoft’s board.
“It’s been 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. And Microsoft and the world are better for it,” Nadella commented in a statement. “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.”
While Gates will still be at least somewhat involved with the company he founded through his position as a technology advisor, the move marks the furthest step away from running Microsoft that Gates has taken yet since he gave up the role of CEO back in 2000.
Correction: A previous version of this story said Gates stepped down as Microsoft CEO in 2008. That is incorrect; Gates stepped down in 2000 and left his full-time job at Microsoft in 2008. We regret the error.