New York (CNN Business) – Years before Microsoft’s board investigated a romantic relationship founder Bill Gates had with an employee, his fellow executives told Gates to stop sending inappropriate emails to an employee, Microsoft confirmed Monday.
In 2008, when Gates was still a Microsoft employee and chairman of the board of directors, executives discovered emails, which had been sent a year earlier, between him and a mid-level employee asking him to meet outside of work, according to one reporte de The Wall Street Journal published Monday, which quotes people familiar with the matter.
At the time, then-General Counsel Brad Smith and then-Chief of Staff Lisa Brummel met with Gates to tell him that his behavior was inappropriate and that he should stop, and Gates agreed, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Microsoft confirmed the Wall Street Journal report to CNN Business, but declined to comment. Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw told the Wall Street Journal that “although flirtatious, [los correos electrónicos] they weren’t overtly sexual, but were deemed inappropriate “and that the employee never made a complaint about the incident.
A Gates spokeswoman, Bridgitt Arnold, denied the claims in a written statement to the Wall Street Journal. “These claims are false and recycled rumors from sources that have no direct knowledge and, in some cases, have significant conflicts of interest,” he said.
Representatives for Gates did not respond to multiple requests for comment from CNN Business.
Gates, one of the richest people in the world, was CEO of Microsoft until 2000. He left the company’s day-to-day duties in 2008 and served as president until 2014. In March 2020, Gates relinquished his position on the board of directors of Microsoft saying it wanted to spend more time on philanthropy.
Monday’s report follows other allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior by Gates while working at Microsoft, which emerged earlier this year during his divorce from his 27-year marriage to Melinda French Gates. (CNN has not independently confirmed all of the allegations.)
In May, the Wall Street Journal reported that Gates’ 2020 resignation from Microsoft’s board of directors came after the board hired a law firm to investigate a romantic relationship he had years earlier with a Microsoft employee.
“Microsoft received a complaint in the second half of 2019 that Bill Gates sought to enter into an intimate relationship with a company employee in 2000,” a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to CNN Business in May. “A board committee reviewed the concern, with the help of an outside law firm, to conduct a thorough investigation. Throughout the investigation, Microsoft provided extensive support to the employee who raised the concern.”
A Gates spokesman called the 2000 relationship “a nearly 20-year-old affair that ended amicably,” in a statement to the Wall Street Journal at the time, and said the company’s investigation was not related to Gates’ decision to leave the directory.
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