OpenAI’s New Board Includes Ex-Salesforce CEO, Quora Boss And A Former Treasury Secretary

206
0

OpenAI announced a near-complete overhaul of its board along with its deal to have Sam Altman return as the company’s CEO on Wednesday, after its previous board faced a near-unanimous employee and investor pushback for ousting Altman last week.

As the company describes it, the new “initial board” will be chaired by former Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor and also include former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo.

D’Angelo—who cofounded the question-and-answer site Quora—is the only holdover from the previous board and one of the four people who voted to oust Altman last week.

Taylor, the interim board’s new chair, served as Salesforce’s co-CEO alongside founder Marc Benioff until January this year.

Taylor, the co-creator of Google Maps and Facebook’s former Chief Technology Officer, announced the launch of a new AI startup earlier this year in partnership with the former head of Google’s Labs division Clay Bavor.

Summers was Treasury Secretary from 1999 to 2001 as part of the Clinton administration and became President Obama’s chief economic adviser in 2009.

Taylor and D’Angelo have shared OpenAI’s announcement on X but neither of the three have publicly commented on their appointment to the board.

In a rejoinder to former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Summers penned an op-ed in the Washington Post in 2017, warning that AI will displace U.S. workers from their jobs. Summers wrote: “If you think AI is not going to have any meaningful economic effects for a half a century, then I guess you should think that tech companies are overvalued. But neither statement is defensible.” The former treasury secretary predicted that autonomous vehicles will “affect millions of jobs driving and dealing with cars within the next 15 years.” Earlier this year, commenting on OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Summers told Bloomberg it is “coming for the cognitive class.” He said the technology “will replace what doctors do. Hearing symptoms and making diagnoses before it changes what nurses do, helping patients…handle themselves in the hospital.”

Three other board members who voted to oust Altman—Tasha McCauley, Helen Toner and co-founder Ilya Sutskever—are no longer on the board. Commenting on OpenAI’s announcement, Toner simply tweeted, “And now, we all get some sleep.” According to the New York Times, before his firing on Friday, Altman was attempting to push Toner off the board for writing a research paper that he thought was critical of OpenAI. Sutskever, who has since expressed regret about Altman’s ouster, has not commented on the latest developments but appeared to express support by retweeting both the announcement and Sam Altman’s tweet.

The “initial board” has reportedly been tasked with the job of vetting people for a full board with up to nine members. It is unclear if OpenAI’s biggest investor, Microsoft, will take a spot on the new board. According to the Information, two former board members who are likely to remain out are Altman and former chair Greg Brockman—who also announced his return to OpenAI alongside Altman.

Sam Altman Agrees To Return As OpenAI CEO (Forbes)

95% Of OpenAI Employees Threatened To Resign. Visa Holders Face A Higher Risk. (Forbes)

Altman Agrees to Internal Investigation Upon Return to OpenAI (The Information)

[Read More…]