Microsoft has secured a non-voting board seat at OpenAI, following the recent tumultuous events that saw the startup’s CEO, Sam Altman, fired and re-hired by the controlling non-profit board. Microsoft’s $13 billion investment in OpenAI has made the two companies closely intertwined, with Microsoft integrating OpenAI’s AI models into its software.
The lack of official representation on OpenAI’s board left Microsoft surprised when Altman was initially fired. The new arrangement involves Microsoft having a non-voting observer seat on OpenAI’s board. Altman expressed confidence in the partnership with Microsoft and acknowledged that the recent board changes were challenging but did not result in the loss of any employees.
The new board will include former Salesforce CEO Bret Taylor, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, and Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo. Mira Murati has resumed the role of OpenAI’s CTO, and Greg Brockman has returned as OpenAI president. Taylor, who will lead the new board, stated that his focus is on strengthening OpenAI’s corporate governance. Microsoft has not disclosed the identity of the non-voting observer attending OpenAI board meetings.
Altman’s firing from OpenAI and subsequent re-hiring were marked by a lack of transparency, concerns about AI safety, and debates over the pace of AGI development. Board members, including Ilya Sutskever, who served when Altman was initially removed, have left the board, except for Adam D’Angelo.
OpenAI board member Helen Toner resigned, emphasizing that the decision was about the board’s ability to supervise the company effectively. Tasha McCauley also resigned from the OpenAI board. Altman welcomed an independent review of recent events and thanked Toner and McCauley for their contributions.