Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Former Sony Corp, Facebook Execs Join OpenAI Board of Directors

As part of an expansion roadmap, OpenAI has announced three new members to its Board of Directors: Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann, former CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Nicole Seligman, former EVP and General Counsel at Sony Corporation and Fidji Simo, CEO and Chair of Instacart. Additionally, Sam Altman, CEO, will rejoin the OpenAI Board of Directors.

According to OpenAI, Sue, Nicole and Fidji have experience in leading global organisations and navigating complex regulatory environments, including backgrounds in technology, nonprofit and board governance. They will work closely with current board members Adam D’Angelo, Larry Summers and Bret Taylor as well as Sam and OpenAI’s senior management.

Bret Taylor, Chair of the OpenAI board, stated, “I am excited to welcome Sue, Nicole, and Fidji to the OpenAI Board of Directors. Their experience and leadership will enable the Board to oversee OpenAI’s growth, and to ensure that we pursue OpenAI’s mission of ensuring artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity.”

Nicole Seligman is a globally recognised corporate and civic leader and lawyer. She currently serves on three public company corporate boards – Paramount Global, MeiraGTx Holdings PLC, and Intuitive Machines, Inc. Seligman held several senior leadership positions at Sony entities, including EVP and General Counsel at Sony Corporation, where she oversaw functions including global legal and compliance matters. She also served as President of Sony Entertainment, Inc., and simultaneously served as President of Sony Corporation of America. Seligman also currently holds nonprofit leadership roles at the Schwarzman Animal Medical Center and The Doe Fund in New York City. Previously, Seligman was a partner in the litigation practice at Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington, D.C., working on complex civil and criminal matters and counselling a wide range of clients, including President William Jefferson Clinton and Hillary Clinton. She served as a law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall on the Supreme Court of the United States.

Fidji Simo is a consumer technology industry veteran, having spent more than 15 years leading the operations, strategy and product development for some of the world’s leading businesses. She is the Chief Executive Officer and Chair of Instacart. She also serves as a member of the Board of Directors at Shopify. Prior to joining Instacart, Simo was Vice President and Head of the Facebook App. Over the last decade at Facebook, she oversaw the Facebook App, including News Feed, Stories, Groups, Video, Marketplace, Gaming, News, Dating, Ads and more. Simo founded the Metrodora Institute, a multidisciplinary medical clinic and research foundation dedicated to the care and cure of neuroimmune axis disorders and serves as President of the Metrodora Foundation.

Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann is a non-profit leader and physician. Dr. Desmond-Hellmann currently serves on the Boards of Pfizer and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. She previously was a Director at Proctor and Gamble, Meta (Facebook), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research institute. She served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation from 2014 to 2020. From 2009-2014 she was Professor and Chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), the first woman to hold the position. She also previously served as President of Product Development at Genentech, where she played a leadership role in the development of the first gene-targeted cancer drugs.

Altman, Brockman to Continue to Lead OpenAI

Meanwhile, the Special Committee of the OpenAI Board announced the completion of the review by WilmerHale. The firm conducted dozens of interviews with members of OpenAI’s prior Board, OpenAI executives, advisors to the prior Board, and other pertinent witnesses; reviewed more than 30,000 documents; and evaluated various corporate actions. Based on the record developed by WilmerHale and following the recommendation of the Special Committee, the Board expressed its full confidence in Mr. Sam Altman and Mr. Greg Brockman’s ongoing leadership of OpenAI.

“We have unanimously concluded that Sam and Greg are the right leaders for OpenAI,” stated Bret Taylor, Chair of the OpenAI Board.

The Board also announced the adoption of important improvements to OpenAI’s governance structure. Key enhancements include:

  • Adopting a new set of corporate governance guidelines;
  • Strengthening OpenAI’s Conflict of Interest Policy;
  • Creating a whistleblower hotline to serve as an anonymous reporting resource for all OpenAI employees and contractors; and
  • Creating additional Board committees, including a Mission & Strategy committee focused on implementation and advancement of the core mission of OpenAI.

The expanded board says it will prioritise its crucial work to enhance the governance procedures to best achieve OpenAI’s mission. “We recognise the magnitude of our role in stewarding transformative technologies for the global good,” added Taylor.

Visit https://openai.com/blog/

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