Microsoft executives warned Bill Gates in 2008 to stop sending flirtatious emails to a female employee, but dropped the matter when he told them he would stop, wall street journal Reported on Monday.
According to the Journal, Brad Smith, then Microsoft’s general counsel and now its president and vice president, and Lisa Brummel, former chief public officer, warned Gates that “the behavior was inappropriate and needed to stop.” Gates, the Journal says, did not rule out exchanges and later told executives that “it was not a good idea” and said he would stop.
The paper also reported that Microsoft board members who were briefed about him declined to take further action because there was no physical interaction between Gates and the employee.
Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw told the Journal that the 2008 warning from company executives came shortly before Gates retired as a full-time employee. Shaw told the newspaper that Gates suggested meeting the employee outside work in emails that were flirtatious and inappropriate but “not openly sexual.”
Similar alleged behavior was reported more than a decade ago in 2008, which led the tech giant to hire a law firm in 2019 to investigate a letter from an engineer that said Gates had He had sex for many years.
Bill Gates Investigation: Microsoft to investigate Gates before stepping down in 2020, says report
The report comes after Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates announced earlier this year that they were ending their 27-year marriage. had a divorce finalized in august.
The former couple still jointly run the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Michelle Shen is a Money & Tech digital reporter for USA Today. follow him on twitter @michael_shane10.
Contribution: Associated Press