After chaos, Microsoft wins observer seat at OpenAI

NEW YORK (AFP): Microsoft, the tech titan that has invested billions of dollars in ChatGPT creator OpenAI, has been given a seat on the startup’s board.

The nomination was shared in a memo to OpenAI staff on Wednesday that was later posted to the company’s blog and included a list of priorities from CEO Sam Altman about how the company would move forward.

The boardroom addition comes after OpenAI was thrown into tumult on November 17 when the company’s board fired Altman only to hire him back a few days later when staff and investors rebelled.

“Thank you for everything you have done since the very beginning, and for how you handled things from the moment this started and over the last week,” Altman told employees in the memo.

At the height of the drama, Microsoft offered to hire Altman and OpenAI’s 750-strong staff to join the Redmond, Washington based company to continue their work there on artificial intelligence.

Instead, the board that dismissed Altman was overhauled, now including the addition of Microsoft as a non-voting measure.

Microsoft will join former US Treasury Secretary and political power broker Larry Summers, who was added last week, as well as Silicon Valley veteran Bret Taylor.

Ilya Sutskever, OpenAI’s chief scientist, sat on the board that voted to remove Altman and has not been renewed.

Altman lauded Sutskever as an AI “guiding light” and said the company was in discussions to find him a role.