Being able to work with famous and successful individuals such as Bill Gates is a great privilege. Steve Davis, the Chief Executive Officer of PATH, talks about working for Gates and how it is right now that he sees him as one of his friends.
Before Davis became the CEO of the global health NGO, he used to work for Gates in the 1990s. He became a corporate lawyer at Corbis, which is a digital company that is also owned by the Microsoft founder. Later on, Gates appointed him as the company’s CEO. At present, Gates Foundation is one of the major donors of PATH, says Forbes.
From time to time, Davis gets to meet up with Gates who now sees him as one of his friends. Davis gladly shares some advice on how he went from being Gates’ employee to a friend. For Davis, everything started when he joined Corbis. It came to a point that the company’s CEO, as well as other executives, left. That was the time that Gates stepped in and asked Davis to became the CEO. That started their good and successful professional and personal relationship.
It was a win-win situation for Davis and Gates at that time since Davis is willing to make the company succeed. “It was important I told him I was willing to keep the company going,” says Davis. They may have gone through a lot of rough times but it was the one that strengthens their relationship. Being able to know their families made it easier for them to get along well which is important in a Founder-CEO relationship.
It also helped a lot that Davis was honest to Gates from the beginning. In doing so, both Gates and Davis were able to set expectations accordingly and at the same time learning came in very fast. As long as you are honest about your capabilities and have the willingness to learn then success is attainable. That worked well for Davis who stayed as the company’s CEO for quite a long time.
And now that Davis is already a CEO of his own company, he still manages to keep his professional relationship and friendship with the billionaire philanthropist. According to BizJournal, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave $11 million grant to support PATH's new center for vaccine and innovation. It only shows that even though Gates and Davis have different interests and advocacies they both respect, value and support each other. That makes their professional and personal relationship an inspiring one.
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