Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has been criticised by several users on social network Twitter after making comments about women's pay.
Speaking at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in the US, Harvey Mudd College president and Microsoft board member Maria M. Klawe asked Nadella for his advice to women who are uncomfortable asking for a promotion or pay rise.
He replied: "It’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along.
"That, I think, might be one of the additional superpowers that, quite frankly, women who don’t ask for a raise have. Because that’s good karma. It’ll come back because somebody’s going to know that’s the kind of person that I want to trust. That’s the kind of person that I want to really give more responsibility to. And in the long-term efficiency, things catch up."
He came under fire on Twitter following the comments, and has since clarified his stance on the issue.
"Today I was interviewed on stage by Maria Klawe at the Grace Hopper Conference – I encourage you to watch the video," he said in an email to Microsoft employees.
"It was great to spend time with so many women passionate about technology. I was honored to be a part of it and I left the conference energized and inspired.
"Toward the end of the interview, Maria asked me what advice I would offer women who are not comfortable asking for pay raises. I answered that question completely wrong.
"Without a doubt I wholeheartedly support programs at Microsoft and in the industry that bring more women into technology and close the pay gap. I believe men and women should get equal pay for equal work. And when it comes to career advice on getting a raise when you think it’s deserved, Maria’s advice was the right advice. If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask."
Nadella's comments come one week ahead of the PCR Woman of the Year awards, celebrating women in the UK tech industry.