Yesterday, Sam Altman and Greg Brockman were fired from the Board of Directors of OpenAI. Following, all of Tech Twitter was abuzz with one question: wait a moment, who was on the Board? And after they found out, they asked: who on earth are Tasha McCauley and Helen Toner? It turns out that OpenAI’s Board had undergone numerous changes over the years, especially recently. And that just wasn’t ever the biggest news about OpenAI, so those changes didn’t spark the concerns that maybe they should have.
I combed through the Internet Archive and OpenAI’s non-profit filings to try to make sense of OpenAI’s governance. Below, I have attempted to chronicle the composition of OpenAI’s Board over time, point out the conflicts, and you can see how we got to the earthquake yesterday. You can skip to the end for my summary perspective.
Chris was the initial COO of OpenAI, and still works there to this day. Jonathan Levy was listed as Secretary/Treasurer, and may have been a trustee rather than a Director. It’s unclear from the filings.