Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has stuck the knife into Bill Gates after the founder’s ‘inappropriate’ relationship with a female employee came to light, as he insisted ‘the power dynamic in the workplace is not something that can be abused.’
Nadella appeared to take aim at the founder as he told CNBC on Friday that the company is ‘very different’ today to how it was in 2000.
That year, Gates stepped down as CEO, 25 years after he founded the company.
It emerged this week that, the same year, Gates embarked on an ‘inappropriate’ sexual relationship with a female staff member, while he was married to Melinda.
The affair stayed a secret until 2019 and Gates resigned from his position on the board in early 2020 while an internal investigation into the relationship was still ongoing.
Gates, 65, has been rocked by a series of allegations ever since he and Melinda, 56, announced their divorce earlier this month.
His behavior at Microsoft has come under closer scrutiny with claims from two female employees that he asked them out on dates and questions around the handling of accusations of sexual harassment against one of his closest aides.
The wider company’s treatment of women has also come under the spotlight with new details of a discrimination lawsuit claiming female staffers were ‘abused and degraded’ with men ‘groping’ and ‘spanking’ them.
Outside of the company, questions continue to swirl around Gates’ relationship with late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein – which was said to be a source of contention to wife Melinda.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has stuck the knife into Bill Gates after the founder’s ‘inappropriate’ relationship with a female employee came to light, as he insisted ‘the power dynamic in the workplace is not something that can be abused’
Gates admitted this week that he had an affair with a female Microsoft employee in 2000
In yet another blow to the billionaire businessman, Gates appears to have now lost the support of the tech giant he founded as its current CEO distanced Microsoft from the 65-year-old’s actions.
Nadella was asked about Gates’ affair with the staff member two decades ago when he was at the helm of the firm, and whether such behavior was acceptable in the company today.
‘The Microsoft of 2021 is very different from the Microsoft of 2000,’ Nadella told CNBC’s Jon Fortt.
Nadella took a thinly-veiled swipe saying the ‘power dynamic’ in the workplace should not be ‘abused’ and that employees should be comfortable raising concerns even many years after an incident took place.
‘Overall the power dynamic in the workplace is not something that needs to be abused in any form,’ Nadella said.
‘The most important thing is for us to make sure that everybody’s comfortable in being able to raise any issues they see, and for us to be able to fully investigate it.’
Gates was CEO of the company when he had an ‘inappropriate’ sexual relationship with a female staff member in 2000, the Wall Street Journal revealed this week.
It is not clear what position or level of seniority the employee was at the time.
Microsoft’s board first became aware of the affair in 2019 when the employee wrote them a letter detailing what had happened and allegedly asking that Melinda read it.
The company, headed up Nadella at this time, opened an investigation into the claims.
While the investigation was still ongoing in March 2020, Gates shocked the business world by announcing he was resigning from his position on the company board.
Nadella appeared to take aim at the founder as he told CNBC Friday that the company is ‘very different’ today to how it was in 2000
Asked about the conduct of Bill Gates, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says the Microsoft of 2021 is different than the company was in 2000. He says the “power dynamic in the workplace is not something that needs to be abused” & employees should be comfortable raising concerns. pic.twitter.com/MZOalMqvIF
— CNBC (@CNBC) May 21, 2021
The same day Gates stood down from the board of Berkshire Hathaway, run by his friend Warren Buffet.
Gates’ spokeswoman confirmed this week he had an affair almost 20 years ago with a staff member and that the relationship ended ‘amicably.’
She denied the affair was connected in any way to his abrupt departure from the board.
Nadella told CNBC there has been a policy in place since 2006 where Microsoft staff must disclose any relationships with other employees.
He also insisted there is now a strong focus on diversity and inclusion and that Microsft has policies in place to ensure employees can speak up on issues no matter how long ago.
‘To me and to everyone at Microsoft our focus on our culture, our diversity, our inclusion part the everyday experience of our people is super important. It’s a huge priority,’ he said.
‘And not just in the abstract sense. It’s about the lived experience this is about being about being able to confront our fixed mindset every day so that we can improve.
‘And, in that context, the fact that anyone can raise any issue – even an issue from 20 years ago – we will investigate, take action to the satisfaction of the person who has raised it.’
Nadella added that the company has no forced arbitrations – where an employee is required to waive their right to sue or appeal the decision of an investigation into a complaint raised.
In 2000, Gates stepped down as CEO. It emerged this week that, the same year, Gates embarked on an ‘inappropriate’ sexual relationship with a female staff member. Pictured Gates, Melinda and students at a scholarship presentation in Seattle in 2000
Bill and Melinda Gates announced this month they were getting divorced, with Melinda saying the marriage is ‘irretrievably broken’ in divorce filings
‘I feel that we have created an environment that allows us to really drive the everyday improvement in our diversity and inclusion culture, which I think is a super important thing and that’s what I’m focused on,’ he said.
Nadella’s comments came as a series of reports have surfaced in recent weeks about Gates’ behavior.
Gates is said to have pursued several women working at Microsoft while he was married to Melinda.
The New York Times reported two separate instances where he asked female employees out on dates.
In one case, he is said to have asked out a Microsoft employee in 2006 after watching her make a presentation.
‘If this makes you uncomfortable, pretend it never happened,’ Gates emailed the employee, according to the Times.
The woman took his advice and pretended it never happened.
A couple of years later, Gates then asked out an employee with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Melinda and Bill seen after receiving the Commander of the Legion of Honor in Paris in 2017. Gates, 65, has been rocked by a series of allegations in recent weeks
The couple are pictured with their three kids Jennifer (center), Rory (right) and Phoebe (left) in 2019. Two female employees say he asked them out on dates
The pair were in New York for a work trip, when he told her: ‘I want to see you. Will you have dinner with me?’
The woman told the Times the approach made her feel uncomfortable, but she laughed it off.
There was no expectation that the women would suffer professional repercussions for spurning Gates’ advances, the Times reported.
It’s not clear whether Melinda was aware of her husband’s advances on other women.
Melinda was reportedly unhappy about the way sexual harassment allegations against Gates’ key moneyman Michael Larson, above, were handled
However, she was aware of and unhappy with the handling of sexual harassment allegations against Michael Larson, one of Gates’ key lieutenants and the manager of his personal fortune, the report said.
In 2017, a person wrote to Bill and Melinda to complain that Larson was harassing a female staff member at a bicycle shop part-owned by a venture capital firm Rally Capital, owned by the former married couple.
The woman reached a settlement in 2018, signing a non-disclosure agreement and receiving a payout.
Gates’ spokeswoman Bridgitt Arnold denied Gates ever mistreated employees in a statement to the Times.
However, Melinda was reportedly unhappy with the outcome and ordered an independent investigation.
According to the New York Times, Larson was placed on leave during the investigation but was reinstated and still looks after Gates’ vast fortune.
‘It is extremely disappointing that there have been so many untruths published about the cause, the circumstances and the timeline of Bill Gates’s divorce,’ Arnold said.
‘Your characterization of his meetings with Epstein and others about philanthropy is inaccurate, including who participated.
Outside of the company, questions continue to swirl around Gates’ relationship with late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein (above) – which was said to be a source of contention to wife Melinda
‘The claim of mistreatment of employees is also false. The rumors and speculation surrounding Gates’s divorce are becoming increasingly absurd, and it’s unfortunate that people who have little to no knowledge of the situation are being characterized as ‘sources.’
Melinda and Bill announced their shock divorce earlier this month, with Melinda saying the marriage is ‘irretrievably broken’ in divorce filings.
Melinda reportedly began consulting divorce lawyers as far back as October 2019.
She did so around the same time as Bill’s friendship with billionaire pedophile Epstein hit the headlines.
The two men’s friendship began in 2011, three years after Epstein had pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from a minor.
Gates continued to spend time with Epstein despite Melinda reportedly expressing concerns.
There is no suggestion that Gates did anything wrong.
While allegations of inappropriate behavior continue to swirl round Gates, new details have also emerged about the culture inside the tech behemoth he set up in 1975.
Microsoft’s treatment of women has come under the spotlight with new details of a discrimination lawsuit claiming female staffers were ‘abused and degraded’ with men ‘groping’ and ‘spanking’ them
DailyMail.com revealed this week new details of a Microsoft discrimination lawsuit filed in 2015, where women claimed they were ‘ignored, abused, or degraded’ and male bosses ran a ‘good ol’ boy culture’ at the company.
The suit claimed that Microsoft ‘accepts and tolerates abuse and toxic behavior, especially towards females.’
Employees code-named a project ‘Wrecking Ball’ in honor of Miley Cyrus‘ raunchy music video and wrote an email called ‘Working Backwards’ filled with stereotypes about women,’ the case claimed.
Employees were called ‘p****’ and c***’ and former chief executive Steve Ballmer was referred to as ‘our limp d*** CEO,’ the suit claimed.
One woman complained about being asked by a male co-worker why she was ‘dressed like a wh**e’ while another man bombarded a woman with messages offering to ‘spank’ her.
Among the litany of incidents was a man who groped four women in a single night at a work function yet an internal investigation found he didn’t breach anti-harassment rules, writing it off as ‘poor interpersonal awareness’.
The lawsuit claimed: ‘The flagrant and repeated incidents of sexual misconduct toward women at Microsoft reflects the corporate culture in which women are undervalued and underpaid’.