Sam Altman rejoins OpenAI board with three new directors

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, is rejoining the board along with three new directors, announced by the leading artificial intelligence company on Friday.

Publication: 09.03.2024 - 11:24
Sam Altman rejoins OpenAI board with three new directors
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Following an investigation by WilmerHale into Altman's November dismissal, OpenAI has updated its governance policies and reinforced its conflict of interest guidelines, with unanimous board support for Altman's leadership.

The unexpected removal of Altman had startled employees, investors, and major supporter Microsoft, leading to his rapid reinstatement. OpenAI introduces new board members: Sue Desmond-Hellmann, former CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Nicole Seligman, former president of Sony Entertainment; and Fidji Simo, CEO of Instacart.

Altman expressed his enthusiasm for the board's expansion on social media, stating, "We have important work in front of us." These additions will serve alongside existing members Adam D'Angelo, CEO of Quora; former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers; and Chairman Bret Taylor, former co-CEO of Salesforce.

The WilmerHale investigation concluded that Altman's firing stemmed from a breakdown in trust and relationship with the previous board, not from financial, product safety, or other operational concerns.

In response to these findings, OpenAI has implemented new corporate governance practices and established a whistleblower hotline. It has also tightened its conflict-of-interest policy, reflecting Altman's investment activities in other firms. However, details on these governance enhancements remain sparse.

Speculation about Altman's abrupt firing and the implications for OpenAI's future technology had spread, with both Altman and the company refuting any misconduct. Altman's swift return as CEO, driven by an employee ultimatum for his reinstatement and board resignation, has prompted discussions on OpenAI's governance structure, leading to a revamped board without Altman initially, chaired by Taylor.

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