OpenAI board to include Larry Summers as Sam Altman returns as CEO

OpenAI said former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers will reportedly join a new and expanded board of directors at the embattled artificial intelligence firm, even as it reinstated Sam Altman as CEO five days after firing him.

In the latest surprise development at the company behind ChatGPT, Summers will likely be tasked with recruiting other board members and resolving its governance, a major bone of contention for its biggest financial backer, Microsoft, which currently has no representatives. at the meeting.

At the moment, OpenAI said it has an “initial board” that, in addition to Summers, includes chairman Bret Taylor, former co-CEO of Salesforce, and current board member Adam D’Angelo, CEO of Quora.

“We are collaborating to determine the details. Thank you very much for your patience during this,” OpenAI shared in a x publication announcing the return of Altman and his new board of directors.

A source who asked to remain anonymous when discussing private negotiations he told Bloomberg that Altman and a Microsoft executive could also be named directors.

Previous OpenAI board members included D’Angelo and OpenAI co-founder and chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, who expressed regret for participating in Altman’s surprise ouster. The other two directors were Tasha McCauley of GeoSim Systems and Helen Toner, director of Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology.

Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers was named to OpenAI’s board of directors on Tuesday night. According to Bloomberg, the 68-year-old economist will likely be tasked with hiring more directors.
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It was not immediately clear whether Greg Brockman, a close ally of Altman who said he would resign from the board but then completely resigned from his role as president of OpenAI in protest of Altman’s ouster, would return as a board member.

OpenAI representatives did not immediately respond to the Post’s request for comment.

As a member of OpenAI’s board of directors, Summers will take a closer look at the company behind ChatGPT, which he said in an interview in April would “come for the cognitive class” and make the most skilled roles obsolete first, according to Bloomberg.

“ChatGPT will replace what doctors do, listening to symptoms and making diagnoses, before changing what nurses do,” said Summers, who led the Treasury Department during the Clinton administration and worked as an economic adviser in the Obama administration, in the Press conference. time.

“It’s going to change what traders do when entering and exiting financial markets before it changes what sellers do.”

Sam Altman, 38, was reinstated as CEO of OpenAI on Tuesday, a day after the AI ​​firm said it was having “intense discussions” about how to avoid a staff exodus in protest of Altman’s firing.
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It is not the 68-year-old economist’s first foray into Silicon Valley. Summers also sits on the board of directors of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s Block Inc. He joined in 2011, when the payment processing company was known as Square.

Summers, also a former president of Harvard, also held leadership positions at a “hyperdata” application called Premise, the financial services company LendingClub and the software company Skillsoft Corp.

OpenAI has apparently been on Summers’ radar years before its launch, possibly triggering the rise of AI.

“The robots are coming,” Summers wrote in a Washington Post column in 2017.

A year later, he disputed then-Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s claims that AI would not replace American jobs for 50 to 100 years.

And in December 2022, a month after ChatGPT disrupted the technology landscape, Summers compared the chatbot to the printing press and electricity. “This could be the most important general-purpose technology since the wheel or fire,” he told Bloomberg.

Bret Taylor, former co-CEO of Salesforce, will be chairman of OpenAI’s board of directors.
Quora co-founder and director Adam D’Angelo, a current OpenAI board member, will remain a director.
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Altman’s reinstatement potentially marks the end of a chaotic interlude at OpenAI, which has been in crisis since Friday, when the ChatGPT maker’s previous directors suddenly fired Altman, vaguely calling the AI ​​genius “not consistently sincere in his communications with the board”.

In a whirlwind weekend, Altman accepted a position at Microsoft, sparking turmoil at OpenAI when more than 700 of the startup’s 770 employees signed a letter threatening to resign if the board did not reinstate Altman.

Before reinstating Altman, OpenAI’s previous directors appointed former Twitch boss Emmett Shear as interim CEO. Shear only held the position for about 72 hours.
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The leading artificial intelligence firm did not elaborate on Altman’s mistakes that led to his resignation at the time.

When markets opened on Monday, the San Francisco-based company had named former Twitch CEO Emmett Shear interim head of OpenAI.

Shear, who had only led the company for 72 hours, said he was “deeply pleased” by OpenAI’s decision to reinstate Altman.

“Coming to OpenAI, I wasn’t sure what the right path would be. This was the path that maximized safety as well as doing the right thing by all stakeholders involved. I am glad to have been part of the solution,” he added in a Wednesday morning tweet.

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