- Marissa Mayer slammed OpenAI’s “spoiled and inexperienced” management on social media.
- The former Yahoo CEO’s comments come after the firing of OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman.
- Mayer described OpenAI’s unusual governance structure in a series of posts on X.
Marissa Mayer had harsh words for the OpenAI board.
Yahoo’s former CEO took to social media to condemn the company’s management structure after a chaotic weekend that saw OpenAI go through three different CEOs and face resignation threats from most of its employees following Sam Altman’s abrupt removal from the board. Altman helped found OpenAI and led the effort for four years.
“OpenAI investors (e.g @Microsoft) action should be intensified and demand that management shortcomings be addressed at the level @OpenAI be repaired” – Mayer he wrote Sunday on X, formerly known as Twitter.
On Monday, a former Google and Yahoo executive said she was “sad” that OpenAI’s “crazy governance model” allowed the sudden ouster of OpenAI’s CEO.
Altman found out he was being fired on Friday after OpenAI board member and chief scientist Ilya Sutskever reportedly staged a coup. Employees and investors, including key sponsor Microsoft, were there supposedly “blindsided” by the board’s decision and insisted that the company reinstate Altman.
Suckew even said Monday that he regretted his role in pushing Altman out. But trying to reinstate Altman as CEO supposedly fell apart on Sunday evening, and OpenAI instead hired former Twitch CEO Emmett Shear as interim CEO. Meanwhile, Microsoft said it had appointed Altman to lead its new artificial intelligence team and hired several of his colleagues.
“The fact that Ilya is now regretting just shows how broken and uninformed they are,” Mayer wrote on social media. “They call them board meetings because you’re supposed to do it consciously.”
The decision to force Altman to leave appears to have been a possibility OpenAI’s unusual governance structure. OpenAI was originally founded as a non-profit organization. The company later created a for-profit division, but structured it so that OpenAI’s nonprofit board managed its for-profit subsidiary, so that OpenAI could continue to focus on its mission of advancing its technology for the benefit of human society , and not just for profit. As a result, a majority of directors on the board cannot hold a financial interest in a for-profit division of the company.
“Most companies of OpenAI’s size and consistency have boards of 8-15 directors, most of whom are independent and all of whom have more experience on boards of this scale than the 4 independent directors at OpenAI” – Mayer he wrote on Sunday at X. “Artificial intelligence is too important to be misunderstood.”
OpenAI’s statute allows board members to both appoint and dismiss other board members by a majority vote, Reported by wire. According to the publication, the management board may also make such a decision without prior notice. In the case of OpenAI, which had only six board members, a majority vote meant that only four board members had to agree to the change to approve it.
By this year, more OpenAI board members, up to LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Neuralink executive Shivon Zilis and former Republican congressman Will Hurd, had left in 2023.
“Typically, you decide what board size (number of people) will best serve the company and then, as people leave, you fill the vacancies, taking into account the diversity of experience (operators, investors, legal and financial knowledge, industries, etc.)” Mayer he wrote on Sunday. “The board was fine until a few months ago when it shrunk. They should have re-filled those seats then.”
Mayer and OpenAI spokespeople did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Sunday, Information provided that the former Yahoo CEO’s name was floated by “insiders close to OpenAI” as a potential addition to the board, along with Hoffman and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky. At the time, investors were reportedly working behind the scenes to get the current management to reinstate Altman and make changes.