Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is stepping down from the company’s board so he can focus on philanthropy.
Mr Gates was Microsoft’s chief executive until 2000 and has since scaled back his involvement in the company he founded with Paul Allen in 1975.
He withdrew from a day-to-day role in Microsoft in 2008 and served as chairman of the board until 2014.
Mr Gates is also giving up his seat on the board of Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate headed by fellow billionaire Warren Buffett.
Mr Gates said he plans to dedicate more time to his foundation with wife Melinda.
He will continue in his role as technology adviser to Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella and other company leaders.
Mr Gates said the company would “always be an important part of my life’s work” and he would continue to be involved in its leadership.
He said: “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.
“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 prioritise my commitment to addressing some of the world’s toughest challenges.”
Forbes lists Mr Gates as the world’s second richest man after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, with a net worth of $ 103.6bn (£84.4bn).
He made his fortune developing software for the personal computer and got his big break in 1980 when Microsoft signed an agreement with IBM to build the operating system MS-DOS.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said: “It’s been a tremendous honour and privilege to have worked with and learned from Bill over the years.”