OpenAI has had an unusual organizational structure ever since its inception, but it recently took a hit after CEO Sam Altman was abruptly fired. President Greg Brockman was also removed from the board and he resigned from the company at the same time.
So where does that leave the board of directors? First, let’s look into the company’s organizational structure.
OpenAI originally started off as a non-profit company for public charity known as OpenAI, Inc. This entity wholly owns and controls OpenAI GP LLC and also owns the holding company for OpenAI Nonprofit. This holding company is the majority owner of OpenAI Global, LLC, which is the profit subsidiary of the organization fully controlled by the OpenAI Nonprofit. Microsoft is a minority owner of OpenAI Global thanks to its heavy investments.
This structure is better depicted through the flow chart below.
As outlined in OpenAI’s own depiction of its corporate framework, directors do not possess equity in OpenAI or receive any other form of compensation. Sam Altman, the former CEO, held shares indirectly through a limited investment made by Y Combinator, where he previously served as president.
OpenAI’s corporate governance emphasizes that the primary fiduciary duty of directors is not solely to uphold shareholder value but rather to advance the company’s mission of developing safe Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) that is broadly beneficial.
According to the company, profits are considered secondary to this overarching mission.
Now for the board of directors.
Board of Directors
The disclosure of the board of directors’ names on the OpenAI website commenced in July, subsequent to the departures of Reid Hoffman, Shivon Zilis, and Will Hurd earlier in the year, as per an archived version of the site on the Wayback Machine.
Now that the former CEO Sam Altman and President and Chairman Greg Brockman are no longer a part of OpenAI, this leaves behind Ilya Sutskever (Chief Scientist) and the interim CEO Mira Murati on the board as employees of OpenAI Global, LLC. Murati was previously working as the chief technology officer and is temporarily filling the CEO role until a permanent replacement for Altman is found.
As for non-employees on the board, this includes Adam D’Angelo, Tasha McCauley, and Helen Toner. Note that OpenAI’s website is yet to update its members of the board and there might be more changes once it’s updated to reflect the recent reshuffling.