Who Are The New OpenAI Board Members?


OpenAI, the company behind the viral ChatGPT chatbot, has experienced major leadership changes and commitments to governance reforms in the past week. After a brief layoff, CEO Sam Altman returns to lead OpenAI together with CTO Mira Murati. The reconstituted board also outlined initial steps to strengthen oversight and restore trust. The main question now is who are the new Openai board members after the return of Sam Altman? In this article, we take a closer look at the conflict that sees Sam Altman returning as CEO, along with a shift in board membership.

The return of Sam Altman

In an email to staff on Monday, Sam Altman announced that he will return as CEO of OpenAI a few days later [reportedly resigning](background link) on disagreements over Microsoft’s regulatory role. Altman wrote highly of OpenAI’s mission and his “never more excited” view of the company’s future success in safely developing artificial general intelligence (AGI).

Altman’s departure and return heralded a week of uncertainty over OpenAI’s governance and autonomy, given its close ties to Microsoft through a $1 billion financing deal. Altman assured staff that OpenAI made “the right choice” in partnering with Microsoft and said he looks forward to working together further.

With the leadership uncertainty behind him, Altman said OpenAI will refocus on its core research and product efforts:

  • Research – Altman pledged to further invest in OpenAI’s “full-stack security efforts” to ensure favorable outcomes as AGI capabilities evolve. Chief scientific adviser Ilya Sutskever, whose disagreement with Altman reportedly caused the crisis, will continue his work in a revised role.
  • Products – Altman tasked teams to improve ChatGPT quality for users and launch new products so that more people can benefit from and shape AI development.

“We will turn this crisis into an opportunity!” Altman wrote that he emerged stronger after the tumultuous week.

also read: Sam Altman returns as CEO of OpenAI amid turmoil

Who are the new board members of OpenAI?

In a separate letter to staff, newly appointed board chairman Bret Taylor said strengthening OpenAI’s governance and oversight are top priorities for the reconstituted board.

  • Bret Taylor (chairman): Bret Taylor is the co-CEO of Salesforce, a cloud-based software company. He is also a board member at Shopify, an e-commerce platform. Taylor has a background in technology and engineering, and he is a strong advocate of responsible AI development.
  • Larry Summers: Larry Summers is an American economist who has served as the 78th United States Secretary of the Treasury, the 27th president of Harvard University, and the director of the National Economic Council. He is a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Summers is a leading expert on economic policy and has written extensively about AI’s potential to transform the economy.
  • Adam D’Angelo: Adam D’Angelo is the CEO of Pinterest, a social media site for sharing visual content. He is also the co-founder of Quora, a question and answer website. D’Angelo has a background in computer science and is a strong supporter of freedom of expression and open dialogue. He believes AI can be used to promote understanding and empathy.

These new board members bring a wealth of experience and expertise to OpenAI. They will help the organization continue its mission of developing safe and useful AI.

read also: OpenAI board member list

Building a “qualified, diverse” new board

Taylor said they will look to build a board with more varied perspectives relevant to overseeing an organization’s importance of OpenAI. Areas of expertise highlighted included technology, security and policy.

Microsoft will have an observer role on the board, without voting rights. The existing board consisted mainly of tech industry figures such as Altman and early Facebook CTO Adam D’Angelo.

Stabilize leadership, assess recent events

In addition to Altman’s return, Taylor said the board will focus on further stabilizing OpenAI’s leadership structure so that the organization can effectively fulfill its mission moving forward.

An independent governance committee will also oversee a review of events leading up to and during last week’s power struggle. The details and findings could clarify what exactly prompted Altman to temporarily resign.

Improving governance for all stakeholders

For long-term governance changes, Taylor says the board aims to put structures in place so that “all stakeholders can be confident that OpenAI will continue to thrive.” He said this includes users, customers, employees, partners and community members.

The details of what improved governance looks like are not detailed, but likely relate to the checks and balances on CEO autonomy. Greater involvement of the board in decision-making could be one approach.

Also read: OpenAI letter to board: what does this mean?

Why governance is important for OpenAI?

While Altman’s return and governance plans brought immediate stability back to OpenAI, the past week made clear why concrete governance reforms are still needed.

OpenAI’s outsized influence on the trajectory of AI

As Taylor noted, products like ChatGPT AI and OpenAI have themselves given an influential, central role in shaping the future development of artificial intelligence. What OpenAI builds and releases next could impact everything from education to jobs to the way people communicate.

Improved oversight and accountability structures can ensure OpenAI judiciously weighs potential downsides alongside conveniences or viral popularity when designing their research and product roadmap.

Trust is still shaky from Microsoft Deal and mishaps

OpenAI made compromises on autonomy and ethics when they accepted the $1 billion in funding from Microsoft in exchange for making Azure OpenAI the “platform of choice.” The deal and Microsoft’s potential influence led to skepticism and debate over whether OpenAI can still pursue its mission neutrally.

ChatGPT’s occasional malicious, biased results also damaged OpenAI’s reputation for security. And last week’s sudden leadership change left employees, users, and the AI ​​community feeling confused.

Improved governance and accountability measures can help OpenAI regain trust in areas such as neutrality, security and leadership stability.

The coming months will reveal how sincerely and effectively OpenAI and its board continue to implement meaningful supervisory reforms. But for now, OpenAI appears to have its key leaders back in place, with a focus on the future.

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