Microsoft investors seek investigation into handling of alleged misconduct by Bill Gates and the company's sexual harassment polices

Microsoft investors seek investigation into handling of alleged misconduct by Bill Gates and the company's sexual harassment polices
Investors are seeking answers about Microsoft's sexual harassment policies amid accusations about Bill Gates' behavior. Jens Büttner/picture alliance via Getty Images
  • Investors proposed an independent investigation at Microsoft ahead of its annual meeting.
  • Glass Lewis called for the removal of John Thompson, a director, The Times of London reported.

Ahead of Microsoft's annual shareholder meeting later this month, investors are seeking additional information about policies that they say enabled alleged misconduct by co-founder Bill Gates.

Proxy firm Glass Lewis was calling for the removal of John Thompson, one of the company's directors, The Times of London reported on Saturday. Thompson was in charge of an investigation into Gates's alleged conduct, the report said.

And an investment firm, Arjuna Capital, in June announced it would add a shareholder resolution to this year's proxy, seeking an "independent and transparent" investigation into accusations of gender discrimination and sexual harassment at the company.

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The text of that proposed resolution reads: "Reports of Bill Gates' inappropriate relationships and sexual advances towards Microsoft employees have only exacerbated concerns, putting in question the culture set by top leadership, and the board's role holding those culpable accountable."

It added: "Investors are concerned Microsoft may be facing a culture of systemic sexual harassment, putting at risk the company's ability to attract and retain talent."


Arjuna also called for the release of "any independent investigation into executive-level allegations, including recent Gates' allegations."

In its proxy materials, Microsoft urged shareholders to vote against the resolution, saying in part that it would duplicate measures already in place.

Microsoft plans to start an annual public report on its sexual harassment and gender discrimination policies, the company said.

"This reporting will substantially address the key topics identified in the shareholder proposal," the company said. "Microsoft does not tolerate harassment or discrimination."

Investors will get their say at the company's annual meeting on November 30.


The investors' actions came amid a series of reports about alleged misconduct by Gates in the decades before his high-profile divorce from Melinda French Gates.