Bill Gates was told to stop ‘inappropriate’ emails with Microsoft employees in 2008, according to the report

In 2008, when Gates was still one Microsoft (MSFT) employee and chairman of the board, executives discovered emails sent a year earlier between him and a middle-level female employee asking her to meet outside of work, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal Monday, referring to people familiar with the case . At the time, then-Attorney General Brad Smith and then-Chief Officer Lisa Brummel met with Gates to tell him that the behavior was inappropriate and should stop, and Gates agreed, the Journal reported.

Microsoft confirmed the journal’s report to CNN Business, but declined to comment. Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw told the Journal that “while flirting, [the emails] was not overtly sexual, but was deemed inappropriate, “and that the employee never complained about the incident.

A Gates spokeswoman, Bridgitt Arnold, denied the allegations in a written statement to the Journal. “These allegations are false, recycled rumors from sources that have no direct knowledge and in some cases have significant conflicts of interest,” she said. Gates representatives did not respond to further requests for comment from CNN Business.

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Gates, one of the richest people in the world, was Microsoft’s CEO until 2000. He left the day-to-day duties of the company in 2008 and served as chairman until 2014. In March 2020, Gates resigned from Microsoft’s board of directors, saying he wanted to devote more time to philanthropy.
Monday’s report follows other allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior from Gates as he worked for Microsoft, who appeared earlier this year in the middle of his divorce from his wife of 27 years, Melinda French Gates. (CNN has not independently confirmed all of the allegations.)
In May, the Journal reported that Gates’ resignation from Microsoft’s board in 2020 came after the board hired a law firm to investigate a romantic relationship he had previously had with a Microsoft employee.

“Microsoft received a concern in the latter half of 2019 that Bill Gates was trying to start an intimate relationship with a corporate employee in the year 2000,” a Microsoft spokesman confirmed to CNN Business in May. “A committee on the board reviewed the concern, assisted by an outside law firm, to conduct a thorough investigation. Throughout the investigation, Microsoft provided extensive support to the employee who raised the concern.”

A spokesman for Gates called the 2000 affair “an affair almost 20 years ago, which ended amicably”, in a statement to the Journal at the time. and said the company’s investigation was not related to Gates’ decision to leave the board.

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