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Microsoft Secures Board Seat At OpenAI

Microsoft (MSFT) has been given a non-voting board seat at privately held start-up company OpenAI.

The move to give Microsoft a board seat comes a week after OpenAI, which developed the ChatGPT artificial intelligence chatbot, fired its existing board members following a botched dismissal of chief executive officer (CEO) Sam Altman, who has subsequently been rehired.

Microsoft is the largest investor in OpenAI having put $13 billion U.S. into the company and integrated it’s A.I. technology into its Office products and Bing search engine.

Until now, Microsoft did not have any representation on the board of directors that controlled OpenAI, resulting in it being surprised when Altman was fired and then rehired.

In recent days, OpenAI has also announced the appointments of former Salesforce CEO Bret Taylor, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, and Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo to its newly rebuilt board of directors.

Taylor, who will serve as OpenAI’s new board chair, said in a message posted on OpenAI’s website that he is focused on “strengthening OpenAI’s corporate governance.”

Microsoft has not said who will sit on OpenAI’s board of directors on behalf of the company.

The reasons for Altman’s firing and then rehiring remain unclear. While the board cited a lack of transparency on Altman’s part, what led to the recent drama at the company is not known publicly.

OpenAI is privately held. Its stock does not trade on a public exchange.

Shares of Microsoft have risen 58% this year and currently trade at $378.85 U.S. per share.