OpenAI adds former NSA chief to its board

OpenAI adds former NSA chief to its board
US News

Paul Nakasone, director general of the National Security Agency, testifies during a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about worldwide threats, on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 14, 2021.

Saul Loeb | Pool | Reuters

OpenAI on Thursday announced its newest board member: Paul M. Nakasone, a retired U.S. Army general and former director of the National Security Agency. Nakasone was the longest-serving leader of the U.S. Cyber Command and chief of the Central Security Service.

“Mr. Nakasone’s insights will also contribute to OpenAI’s efforts to better understand how AI can be used to strengthen cybersecurity by quickly detecting and responding to cybersecurity threats,” OpenAI said in a blog post.

The company said Nakasone will also join OpenAI’s recently created Safety and Security Committee. The committee is spending 90 days evaluating the company’s processes and safeguards before making recommendations to the board and, eventually, updating the public, OpenAI said.

Nakasone joins current board members Adam D’Angelo, Larry Summers, Bret Taylor and Sam Altman, as well as some new board members the company announced in March: Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann, former CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Nicole Seligman, former executive vice president and global general counsel of Sony; and Fidji Simo, CEO and chair of Instacart.

OpenAI is bolstering its board and its C-suite as its large language models gain importance across the tech sector and as competition rapidly emerges in the burgeoning generative artificial intelligence market. While the company has been in hyper-growth mode since late 2022, when it launched ChatGPT, OpenAI has also been riddled with controversy and high-level employee departures.

OpenAI on Monday announced the hiring of two top executives as well as a partnership with Apple that includes a ChatGPT-Siri integration.

The company said Sarah Friar, previously CEO of Nextdoor and finance chief at Square, is joining as chief financial officer. Friar will “lead a finance team that supports our mission by providing continued investment in our core research capabilities, and ensuring that we can scale to meet the needs of our growing customer base and the complex and global environment in which we are operating,” OpenAI wrote in a blog post.

OpenAI also hired Kevin Weil, an ex-president at Planet Labs, as its new chief product officer. Weil was previously a senior vice president at Twitter and a vice president at Facebook and Instagram. Weil’s product team will focus on “applying our research to products and services that benefit consumers, developers, and businesses,” the company wrote.

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