June 16, 2024
Finance

OpenAI Appoints Sarah Friar As First Finance Chief


Artificial intelligence (AI) firm OpenAI has named Sarah Friar as its first chief financial officer and Kevin Weil as chief product officer.

Both are Silicon Valley veterans, with Friar having most recently been chief executive of Nextdoor and before that chief financial officer of Square.

She previously worked at Goldman Sachs, McKinsey and Salesforce.

Weil was most recently president of product and business at satellite imagery firm Planet Labs and has also held executive roles at Instagram and Twitter.

OpenAI chief executive Sam Altman. Image credit: OpenAI

Expansion

“Sarah and Kevin bring a depth of experience that will enable OpenAI to scale our operations, set a strategy for the next phase of growth, and ensure that our teams have the resources they need to continue to thrive,” said OpenAI chief executive Sam Altman.

The appointments come at a time when OpenAI, which began life as a non-profit company and is still technically a for-profit subsidiary overseen by a non-profit board, is expanding its AI offerings and taking on high-profile partnerships.

On Monday, the day the appointments were announced, Apple also announced a deal with OpenAI that is to see ChatGPT and other OpenAI tools integrated into iPhones, Macs and other Apple devices later this year.

Amdist its transition from non-profit to a for-profit focus the company has seen significant turmoil within its executive ranks in the past months, including Altman’s shock firing and reinstatement by the board last November.

Ilya Sutskever, a company co-founder and one of the board members involved in the episode, remained on board as chief scientist but left in May to be replaced by Jakub Pachocki, previously the company’s director of research.

Executive departures

Sutskever helped lead a safety team intended to ensure advanced AIs do not turn on humans. The unit was disbanded and was later replaced by a different team.

Jan Leike, who led the previous team with Sutskever, also departed and posted a lengthy writing on X that criticised the company’s leadership.

Another founding member, AI researcher Andrej Karpathy, left the company in February.



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