Bill Gates has announced that he's stepping down from both of the public boards which he serves: Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway. According to Gates, this decision comes as a result of the second richest man in the world wanting to focus on his philanthropic efforts, which includes global health and development, education, and increasing his engagement with the ongoing climate change crisis. Gates notes that the leadership at the two companies has never been stronger, and thus now is an ideal time to step away.
"I have made the decision to step down from both of the public boards on which I serve – Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway – to dedicate more time to philanthropic priorities including global health and development, education, and my increasing engagement in tackling climate change," said Gates via a LinkedIn post. "The leadership at the Berkshire companies and Microsoft has never been stronger, so the time is right to take this step."
Gates notes that serving on the Berkshire board has been one of the greatest honors of his career. Further, he looks forward to working with the company as co-trustees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and co-founders of The Giving Pledge. Meanwhile, Gates had the following to say about Microsoft, noting that this doesn't mean he's stepping away from the company entirely.
"With respect to Microsoft, stepping down from the board in no way means stepping away from the company," said Gates. "Microsoft will always be an important part of my life's work and I will continue to be engaged with Satya and the technical leadership to help shape the vision and achieve the company's ambitious goals. I feel more optimistic than ever about the progress the company is making and how it can continue to benefit the world."
Gates concluded the announcement with the following:
"I am looking forward to this next phase as an opportunity to maintain the friendships and partnerships that have meant the most to me, continue to contribute to two companies of which I am incredibly proud, and effectively prioritize my commitment to addressing some of the world's toughest challenges."
Of course, given that Microsoft is the parent company of Xbox, this does have some level of impact on what Phil Spencer and the team at Microsoft's gaming division are doing, however, the impact is likely negligible. Gates hasn't been involved with the direction of Xbox for quite some time.