OpenAI Hires Former Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar

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OpenAI has appointed Sarah Friar, who was CFO of Square and CEO of NextDoor, to lead its financial department.

Along with serving on six boards, which include Stanford Digital Economy Lab, Walmart, and ConsenSys, Friar will assume financial leadership of the AI platform, which concurrently revealed that it will be integrating its technology into Siri Answers later this year. Apple Intelligence is a new category of technology that the company is introducing to its customers as a result of this relationship.

On a team that has experienced difficulties with leadership and board relations in the previous two years, Friar will take on a position that has been vacant for that length of time. She will be the company’s first chief financial officer since CEO Sam Altman was fired and then rehired in November of last year. Brad Lightcap, the acting COO, was the CFO from 2018 to 2022 before this incident.

“Sarah and Kevin [Weil; the company’s new chief product officer] 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 Altman in the release.

OpenAI, which changed its business strategy in 2019 from being a non-profit to a for-profit technology developer (a decision that led to Elon Musk, an early investor, suing the company), is now valued at an astounding $80 billion.

OpenAI’s growth potential is continuing to accelerate with its new relationship with Apple to integrate its technology into the iPhone and Siri, which has over 59% of the U.S. smartphone market share and became the leader in global market share for the first time this year.

If the firm decides to go that path in the future, Friar—who assisted in leading Square’s IPO in 2015 as a CFO and Nextdoor’s as a CEO in 2021—may be entrusted with leading one of, if not the largest, IPOs in history.

“I’m honoured to join a team that is uniquely talented and mission-focused,” said Friar in the release. “My goal is to help OpenAI continue excelling at what it does best — producing top-tier research and collaborating to maximize the benefits of AI tools for everyone.”

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