Microsoft warned Bill Gates over ‘flirtatious’ emails to female colleague in 2008, report shows
Ex-Microsoft boss Bill Gates was allegedly told by two top executives at the firm to stop sending ‘flirtatious’ emails to a female employee he had propositioned while he was CEO. He had also been married to Melinda Gates for 10 years at this stage.
The revelation comes just months after Gates’ wife filed for divorce, describing the marriage as ‘irretrievably broken.’ The divorce was finalized in August. According to the Journal, Brad Smith, then Microsoft’s general counsel and now its president and vice chair, and Lisa Brummel, former chief people officer, warned Gates that “the behavior was inappropriate and needed to stop.” Gates, the Journal adds, didn’t deny the exchanges and later told the executives that “it wasn’t a good idea” and said that he would stop.
The newspaper also reported members of the Microsoft board who were briefed on them declined to take further action because there wasn’t any physical interaction between Gates and the employee. Microsoft spokesperson Frank Shaw told the Journal that the 2008 warning from company executives happened shortly before Gates retired as a full-time employee.
Shaw told the newspaper that Gates had suggested meeting the employee outside of work in emails that were flirtatious and inappropriate but “not overtly sexual.” Gates stepped down as Microsoft’s president in 2008, although he remained on the company’s board of directors until March 2020.