Corporate governance experts and analysts said Sam Altman’s return as chief executive of OpenAI would tighten his grip on the startup and could leave the ChatGate maker with less checks on its power as the company introduces technology that Can promote industries.
OpenAI is bringing Altman back just days after his ouster as well as installing a new board that can take a deeper look at the startup at the center of the AI boom, but Altman has strong backing from investors including Microsoft. There may be more leeway for commercialization.
“Sam’s withdrawal may put an end to superficial turmoil, but deeper governance issues may remain,” said Mak Yuen Tin, director of the Center for Investor Protection at the National University of Singapore Business School.
He said, “Altman seems extremely powerful and it is not clear that any board will be able to monitor him. The danger is that the board will become a rubber stamp.”
OpenAI’s new board will boast more experience at the top level and stronger ties to both the US government and Wall Street.
The board fired Altman last week with little explanation and twice attempted to move forward by naming an interim CEO. However, pressure from Microsoft — and the 38-year-old’s strong loyalty among more than 700 OpenAI employees that led nearly all of them to threaten to leave the company — led to Altman’s reinstatement on Wednesday.
“Altman has been in high spirits over the past few days,” said GlobalData analyst Beatriz Valle. But it may come at a high cost, she said, adding that she has “a lot more power now.”
Former Salesforce co-CEO Brett Taylor, who as a director played a key role in Elon Musk’s $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3,66,530 crores) purchase of Twitter, will chair the board.
Other members include former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, a Harvard academic and longtime economic aide to Democratic presidents.
“The fact that Summers and Taylor will be joining OpenAI is quite extraordinary and marks a dramatic reversal of fortunes at the company,” Vale said.
Summers, who also sits on the board of Jack Dorsey’s fintech firm Block, has been vocal in recent months about potential job losses and disruption caused by AI.
“ChatGPT is coming to the cognitive class. It will replace doctors,” he said in a post on X in April.
OpenAI’s previous board included entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, Helen Toner, director of strategy at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology, OpenAI chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, as well as Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, who also sits on the new board. .
It was not immediately clear whether any of the other directors would stay, including Sutskever, who joined the effort to fire Altman and then signed a staff letter demanding his return, in which he wrote “the board Expressed regret for “participation in the actions of
OpenAI on X said it is “collaborating to explore the details” of the new board.
Microsoft declined to comment. Summers and OpenAI did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Sutskever, Altman and Taylor could not immediately be reached for comment.
Some analysts say the management failure will ensure that OpenAI executives proceed with caution, as the high-flying startup will now be subject to greater scrutiny. Many noted that companies like Facebook’s parent company Meta have thrived with a powerful CEO despite concerns about corporate governance.
“Sam will definitely come out stronger, but also dirtier, and he’ll have more of a microscope from the AI and broader tech and business community,” said Gartner analyst Jason Wong. “He can do no wrong now.”
© Thomson Reuters 2023
(TagstoTranslate)Sam Altman returns as OpenAI CEO, ChatGPT Board Chairman Brett Taylor Sam Altman