OpenAI, the artificial intelligence startup behind the popular ChatGPT chatbot, is undergoing a major shakeup in its governance structure.
OpenAI is looking for a new board of directors, but it may not include representatives from its major investors, such as Microsoft, Khosla Ventures, and Thrive Capital, according to a source familiar with the matter, as shared by Reuters.
Mid-November, the company ousted its long-time CEO Sam Altman, as he was reportedly “not consistently candid in his communications,” and the company no longer had confidence “in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.”
On November 22nd, however, after feeling the repercussions of ousting Altman, OpenAI revealed that it has an “agreement in principle” for Altman to return. At the time, Altman said he needed a seat on the company’s board, and so did Microsoft.
Microsoft, in particular, has been a close partner of OpenAI, providing cloud computing resources and collaborating on research projects. Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella had expressed concern about the governance issues at OpenAI and said that they needed to be resolved regardless of Altman’s fate.
“I do not know that it’s going to be the choice of OpenAI to leave Microsoft off the board,” said Thomas Hayes chairman of hedge fund Great Hill Capital. “Microsoft will have something to say about it, given the amount of money that they have put behind them,” he said, adding that it would not be in the interest of Microsoft “to sit passively.”
As of right now, the board is set to have nine members and will be chaired by Bret Taylor, the CEO of Salesforce. The other confirmed directors are former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, who is the only remaining member of the previous board that ousted Altman. The new board is expected to be announced as soon as this week.
It is unclear whether Microsoft and other investors will accept being left out of the new board.