OpenAI unlikely to offer board seat to Microsoft, other investors - source

FILE PHOTO: OpenAI logo is seen in this illustration taken, February 3, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration//File Photo

(Reuters) -ChatGPT owner OpenAI is not expected to offer Microsoft and other investors including Khosla Ventures and Thrive Capital seats on its new board, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

In a few tumultuous days last week, OpenAI ousted its CEO and founder Sam Altman without any detailed cause, setting off alarm bells among investors and employees. He was reinstated with the promise of a new board.

Altman's exit sparked confusion about the future of the startup at the center of an artificial intelligence boom.

"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".

The Information first reported the news and said OpenAI will have a nine-person board.

The three initial directors of the new board - Chair Bret Taylor, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, and Quora CEO Adam D'Angelo - are expected to be confirmed as soon as this week, the report said.

D'Angelo would be the only remaining director from the old six-person board that fired Altman.

Microsoft, which has invested more than $10 billion in OpenAI, is one of the biggest backers of OpenAI that operates ChatGPT, its viral generative AI chatbot.

Its CEO Satya Nadella had earlier told CNBC the governance at the ChatGPT maker needed to change no matter where Altman ended up.

In response to a question on the OpenAI board, a Microsoft spokesperson said, "We will wait until the board officially says something."

OpenAI and Thrive did not immediately respond to requests for comment, while Khosla declined to comment.

(Reporting by Zaheer Kachwala and Harshita Mary Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Kenneth Li and Arun Koyyur)

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