Ex-Microsoft boss Bill Gates was once told by two top executives at the firm to stop sending flirtatious emails to a female employee he had propositioned while he was CEO and married to Melinda Gates more than a decade ago, it has been reported.
The revelation comes just months after Gates’ wife filed for divorce, claiming that the marriage was ‘irretrievably broken.’ The divorce was finalised in August.
Despite the acrimonious end to their marriage, the former couple reunited over the weekend in Westchester County, New York for the wedding of their oldest daughter, 25-year-old Jennifer Gates.
Jennifer Gates wed 30-year-old Egyptian equestrian Nayel Nasser in front of 300 guests at her 142-acre estate in North Salem, New York.
The 2008 emails from Gates were sent to a mid-level employee at the software giant. They were later discovered by Microsoft executives.
Gates was summoned to a meeting by the company’s top lawyer at the time, Brad Smith, and Lisa Brummel, the firm’s most senior human resources executive.
During the meeting, Smith and Brummel told Gates that the emails were inappropriate and that he needed to stop, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Gates reportedly agreed to stop corresponding with the woman.
According to the Journal, Smith and Brummel informed the company board of the emails. The board met and determined that no further action was necessary since there wasn’t any physical altercation, according to the report.
A spokesperson for Microsoft told the Journal that the company was made aware of Gates’ emails to the mid-level female employee in 2007 – just months before Gates was set to retire as a full-time employee.
The spokesperson, Frank Shaw, told the Journal that Gates offered to meet the woman outside of work and off campus.
‘While flirtatious, they were not overtly sexual, but were deemed to be inappropriate,’ he said.
Shaw said that the employee never filed a complaint against Gates about the incident.
Bridgitt Arnold, a spokesperson for Bill Gates, told the Journal: ‘These claims are false, recycled rumours from sources who have no direct knowledge, and in some cases have significant conflicts of interest.’