The statement also said that he is stepping down also from the board of Berkshire Hathaway, a multinational conglomerate holding company controlled by another billionaire, Warren Buffett.
According to Gates, he plans to “dedicate more time to philanthropic priorities including global health and development, education, and my increasing engagement in tackling climate change.” He also notes that the leadership at both companies “has never been stronger so the time is right to take this step.”
Gates founded Microsoft in 1975, that is, 45 years ago, after he dropped out of Harvard University to set up the company with Paul Allen, who died in 2018.
He was the CEO of the company until 2000 when Steve Ballmer took over the position. The current Microsoft CEO is Satya Nadella.
In 2014, Bill Gates also stepped down as the chairman of Microsoft. Currently, he owns just over 1% of shares in Microsoft.
Microsoft is known mostly for its Windows operating system as well as the Office Suite software, although the company has since diversified into other technological offerings. The company is currently valued at $1.2 trillion making it the third most valuable company in the world after Apple and Google.
In a statement released by Microsoft and signed by the CEO Satya Nadella, Bill Gates will continue to serve as technology advisor to Nadella and other leaders in the company.
“It’s been a tremendous honor and privilege to have worked with and learned from Bill over the years,” Nadella says in the release.
“Microsoft will continue to benefit from Bill’s ongoing technical passion and advice to drive our products and services forward,” he adds.
Bill and Melinda Gates are the co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charitable foundation; Bill has donated $35.8 billion worth of Microsoft stock to it.