Bill Gates steps down from Microsoft's board to focus on philanthropy

In an announcement on Friday, Microsoft revealed that company co-founder Bill Gates has decided to step down from his role on its Board of Directors in order to focus on his philanthropic efforts at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This is Gate's biggest change to his role at Microsoft since stepping down as company chairman in February 2014.

According to Microsoft, Gates will continue to serve as a Technology Advisor for company CEO Satya Nadella and other executives at the company. This isn't the first time Gates has distanced himself from the company in order to focus on his philanthropy work; he first ended his day-to-day role at Microsoft back in 2008 to better focus on the Foundation.

Microsoft's independent board chair John W. Thompson expressed 'deep appreciation' for Gates and his time at Microsoft on behalf of the company's Board and shareholders. In a statement of his own, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella:

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. 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.

Gates' Foundation has been focusing on the current coronavirus outbreak, calling it a 'once-in-a-lifetime' pandemic and urging society to take the steps needed to slow down its impact. In a post this week, the Foundation revealed that it has joined Mastercard and Wellcome to help spur the effort to find treatments for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.