9 Young Executives Running OpenAI’s $80B A.I. Powerhouse

The majority of OpenAI's C-suite executives are under 40.

OpenAI leaders
(From top left to bottom right) Greg Brockman, Sarah Friar, Adam D’Angelo, Sam Altman, Fidji Simo and Mira Murati Getty Images

Since the release of ChatGPT in November 2022, its creator, OpenAI, has quickly become a household name. In the past 18 months, the company’s astronomical rise in valuation has paralleled its booming headcount. In January 2023, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman stated it was operating with 375 employees. LinkedIn currently puts the employee count at over 2,000. 

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OpenAI was founded in December 2015 by Altman along with three other co-founders: Greg Brockman, Ilya Sutskever and Elon Musk. The venture capitalist Peter Thiel and corporate investors, including Amazon and Infosys, were early backers who helped the company start research and operations with $1 billion in funding.

In 2019, OpenAI split into the non-profit OpenAI, Inc. and its for-profit subsidiary called OpenAI Global, LLC. The OpenAI we know today operates by a capped-profit model, which sets a maximum limit on the profit investors can retrieve from their investments. (In early June, it was reported that OpenAI is considering shifting from a capped-profit model to an entirely for-profit one.) Meanwhile, the nonprofit arm allows it to take on costly long-term research projects. 

OpenAI has seen significant leadership changes in recent years as its business soared, most notably Altman’s abrupt firing and reinstatement in November 2023 and the ensuing board overhaul. OpenAI’s former board of directors included Altman, Musk (who left in early 2018), Sutskever and several non-founding investors and A.I. experts. Today, the company is governed by an entirely new board, consisting of seven members from various backgrounds in tech, policy and academia.

Here are the nine notable executives and seven board directors running OpenAI:

Sam Altman, 39, CEO

Altman became the CEO of OpenAI’s for-profit entity when it was created in 2019. He was briefly fired in November 2023 only to be reinstated days later after over 95 percent of OpenAI employees signed an open letter demanding his return. 

Altman dropped out of Stanford University at 19 and co-founded Loopt, a location-based social networking mobile app that he successfully sold. He joined the startup accelerator Y Combinator as a partner in 2011—initially working part-time to balance co-founding the venture capital firm Hydrazine Capital with his brother, Jack Altman—and was promoted to president in 2014. He was forced to resign from Y Combinator in 2019 for spending too much time on non-company projects, including OpenAI. 

Outside of OpenAI, Altman is also the chairman of clean energy companies Oklo Inc. and Helion Energy. Altman’s involvement in outside business endeavors was reportedly one of the reasons OpenAI’s former board wanted to push him out. 

Greg Brockman, 36, president and chairman 

Greg Brockman co-founded OpenAI and has led the company’s research and engineering efforts, including product development. Brockman was fired along with Altman in November 2023 and returned shortly after Altman’s reinstatement. Previously, he was the chief technology officer of Stripe, the fintech company led by Jack Dorsey

Mira Murati, 35, chief technology officer 

Mira Murati began working at OpenAI in June 2018 as vice president of applied A.I. and partnerships. She was later promoted to senior vice president of research, product and partnerships and CTO in 2022.

Murati has a blended background in business and engineering. Prior to joining OpenAI, she was a senior product manager at Tesla, focusing on its Model X vehicle. Before that, she worked as an engineer at the aerospace company Zodiac Aerospace and was vice president of product and engineering at virtual and augmented reality development company Leap Motion (which later merged with Ultrahaptics to become Unleap). 

Jakub Pachocki, 33, chief scientist

Since OpenAI works toward both research and A.I. products, the company has a chief scientist and a chief technology officer. The chief scientist focuses on research, while the CTO focuses on application and product development. 

Jakub Pachocki became chief scientist after his predecessor Sutskever resigned in May 2024. Formerly OpenAI’s director of research, the Polish scientist led the development of GPT-4 and OpenAI Five. Pachocki joined OpenAI in early 2017 after completing his Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon University and serving as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University. He has been commended for contributing to OpenAI’s research in large-scale reinforcement learning (RL) and deep learning optimization research. 

Sarah Friar, 51, CFO

One of the newest additions to OpenAI’s C-suite, Sarah Friar joined the company in June 2024 as its first CFO. Friar most recently served as the CEO of Nextdoor, a neighborhood-based social networking app. Before that, she was a banker at Goldman Sachs and worked for Salesforce and Square between 2012 and 2018. Friar is on the board of ConsenSys, a blockchain company, and previously sat on Slack and New Relic boards. 

Jason Kwon, 46 to 48, chief strategy officer 

Jason Kwon became chief strategy officer in July 2023 after serving as OpenAI’s general counsel for a little over two years. He oversees the company’s strategy, particularly investments, and shapes its direction concerning its growing competition. Kwon has an extensive legal background, having served as general counsel for Y Combinator, where he focused on the YC Continuity Fund, as assistant general counsel for Khosla Ventures and as an associate for the Goodwin global law firm. 

Che Chang, general counsel

Amidst the several legal battles facing OpenAI, it’s no surprise that the company boasts a growing in-house legal team. Che Chang brings his legal expertise in tech from his previous position as a senior corporate counsel for Amazon. Chang is the lead attorney on OpenAI’s in-house team, providing legal advice and guidance for the company, from mitigating risks and ensuring legal compliance to serving as its official legal representation in court. 

Hannah Wong, 39 or 40, communication chief 

Hannah Wong joined OpenAI in February 2021, leaving a seven-year public relations stint at Apple. She became OpenAI’s head of public relations and later vice president in 2023. Wong began her career at Edelman, a global communications firm, working primarily on Xbox and Xbox LIVE, Charles Schwab and Twitter accounts.

After a short time freelancing in corporate communications at Gap, she eventually worked as Apple’s PR manager—and then senior manager—mainly focusing on the iPad, Apple Pay, Apple Card, and iCloud. At OpenAI, she leads the communication strategy and PR and oversees employee communications and brand design teams. 

Alissa Rosenthal, 40, head of sales

Alissa Rosenthal began her career in tech at S&P Global and served as the director of strategic partnerships at A.I.-powered market intelligence at Quid. She started her first sales job at Mixpanel as sales director, then at InVisionApp Inc., before

Before joining OpenAI in June 2022, Alissa Rosenthal was most recently vice president of sales at the SaaS company WalkMe. In an interview with VentureBeat in February, Rosenthal revealed that she currently manages a 150-person team. She describes the primary purpose of the sales team as aiding users in transitioning into artificial generative intelligence (AGI), although AGI remains undefined industry-wide. 

Current board members 

  • Adam D’Angelo, 39, co-founder and CEO of Quora
  • Bret Taylor, 43, co-founder of Sierra, an A.I. startup 
  • Lawrence Summers, 69, former National Economic Council Director under former President Barack Obama 
  • Sue Desmond-Hellmann, 66, Pfizer board member and former CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Nicole Seligman, 67, former executive vice president and general counsel of Sony Corporation and former president of Sony Corporation of America
  • Fidji Simo, 38, CEO of Instacart and co-founder of the Metrodora Institute
  • Paul M. Nakasone, 60, retired U.S. Army general who led the creation of the U.S. Cyber Command and served as a leader of USCYBERCOM

9 Young Executives Running OpenAI’s $80B A.I. Powerhouse