Microsoft could get a seat on OpenAI's board



OpenAI announced that it would reinstate Sam Altman to its board of directors on March 8, 2024. The company also reported the results of an internal investigation that found that while there were reasonable grounds for Altman's expulsion, the reasons were not sufficient to warrant dismissal.

OpenAI announces new members to board of directors

Review completed & Altman, Brockman to continue to lead OpenAI

On November 17, 2023, OpenAI announced the dismissal of then-CEO Sam Altman. In a statement, the board explained the reason for this: 'We have concluded that Mr. Altman's communications with the board have been inconsistent and insincere, impeding his ability to fulfill his board responsibilities.' Following Altman's dismissal, President Greg Brockman also announced his resignation.

AI development company OpenAI CEO Sam Altman steps down, CTO Mira Murati becomes interim CEO - GIGAZINE

The sudden expulsion of Altman, who was the face of OpenAI, sent huge ripples both inside and outside OpenAI. On November 20, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, which is affiliated with OpenAI, announced his intention to welcome Altman and other former OpenAI members to Microsoft. In a letter to the board of directors, OpenAI employees demanded the reinstatement of Altman and the resignation of all board members, and said they would move to Microsoft if their wishes were not met.

The turmoil that roiled the industry for days was eventually ended with the return of Altman and Brockman and a refreshed board of directors.

Sam Altman returns as CEO of OpenAI and board members are renewed - GIGAZINE

By TechCrunch

On March 8, 2024, OpenAI will welcome Altman, who had already returned to OpenAI as CEO, back to the board of directors. It also announced that it will add three new members to its board: Sue Desmond-Hellman, former CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Nicole Seligman, former vice president and general counsel of Sony; and Fiji Simo, CEO and chairman of Instacart , an American food delivery service.

This brings OpenAI's board to seven members, including current board members Adam D'Angelo, Larry Summers and Brett Taylor, plus Altman and the three new directors.

On the same day, OpenAI released the outline of an investigation into Altman's dismissal, which it had commissioned to the international law firm WilmerHale. During the investigation, WilmerHale reviewed more than 30,000 documents and conducted dozens of interviews, including with members of the board of directors at the time, to evaluate the circumstances and merits of the dismissal.

In its investigation report, WilmerHale pointed out that the breakdown in trust between the board and Altman at the time led to his dismissal, and concluded that the board's statement on November 17 accurately described its decision to dismiss him and the reasons for it, acknowledging the board's explanation that 'Mr. Altman was not consistently honest.'

The investigation also found that the board did not anticipate that Altman's dismissal would destabilize the company. WilmerHale also found that Altman's actions did not warrant his dismissal, stating that the decision was made on a shortened timeline without prior notice to key stakeholders, a full investigation, or an opportunity for Altman to address the board's concerns.

In response to the findings of this investigation, OpenAI's special committee recommended that the board uphold its November 21 decision to reappoint Altman and Brockman and expressed full confidence in their leadership.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Altman said, 'I am thrilled to welcome new board members Fiji Simo, Sue Desmond-Hellman, and Nicole Seligman, and to continue working with Brett, Larry, and Adam.' He also reflected, 'I have learned a lot from this experience. In retrospect, when I believed that the actions of previous board members were harming OpenAI, I should have handled the situation more flexibly and with more discretion.'

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