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OpenAI Reveals Its New Governance Structure

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The AI research company OpenAI has unveiled a new governance structure and a reorganized board of directors in the wake of recent drama that saw CEO Sam Altman fired, momentarily hired by Microsoft, and then promptly brought back to the position.

OpenAI announced in a statement that Fidji Simo, CEO and chair of Instacart, Sue Desmond-Hellmann, former CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Nicole Seligman, former executive vice president and general counsel at Sony Corporation, will be joining Altman on the board once again.

“I am thrilled to welcome Sue, Nicole, and Fidji to the OpenAI Board of Directors,” stated Bret Taylor, the board’s chair. The Board will be able to oversee OpenAI’s expansion and make sure that we follow OpenAI’s purpose of guaranteeing artificial general intelligence benefits all of humankind thanks to their experience and leadership.

Ilya Sutskever, the principal scientist at OpenAI, Helen Toner of Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology, and Tasha McCauley, an entrepreneur, were the prior board members that quit amidst the recent turmoil.

Working with the new board, which is presided over by former Salesforce CEO Bret Taylor, Altman and Greg Brockman will continue to run OpenAI as CEO and president, respectively.

“It has been unanimously determined that Sam and Greg are the most suitable leaders for OpenAI,” added Taylor.

Former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Quora’s Adam D’Angelo are still directors of the board.

While Altman’s termination was within the prior board’s power, an independent assessment conducted by the law firm WilmerHale concluded that his actions did not warrant his dismissal.

The OpenAI board reorganization comes after a turbulent time. Following Altman’s temporary dismissal last month, there was a response from the public over governance issues and an employee petition.

In response, the board declared that significant changes had been made to OpenAI’s governance structure. These changes included the adoption of new corporate governance guidelines, reinforcement of the company’s Conflict of Interest Policy, the establishment of a whistleblower hotline for anonymous reporting by workers and contractors, and the creation of new committees, such as a Mission & Strategy group dedicated to carrying out OpenAI’s primary mission.

OpenAI hopes to emerge from the ordeal with a new governance and accountability framework that includes a reset board, reinforced policies, and a declared commitment to transparency.

Taylor says, “We acknowledge the importance of our role in stewarding transformative technologies for the benefit of all people.”