Sam Altman has been reinstated as the CEO of OpenAI, overcoming a brief yet tumultuous boardroom coup.
OpenAI has faced a significant internal crisis following the unexpected dismissal of Altman last Friday. The situation escalated as the majority of OpenAI’s 750 employees threatened to resign if Altman was not reinstated and the board reorganized.
Responding to this internal pressure, OpenAI has announced a new board formation, led by Bret Taylor, former co-CEO of Salesforce. The board will also include Larry Summers, the former US Treasury Secretary, and Adam D’Angelo, a tech entrepreneur who was involved in Altman’s firing.
OpenAI, in a statement on its official X account, expressed its plans for Altman’s return. “We have reached an agreement in principle for Sam Altman to return to OpenAI as CEO with a new initial board of Bret Taylor (Chair), Larry Summers, and Adam D’Angelo,” the statement read.
Altman himself expressed his commitment to OpenAI on social media, stating, “I love OpenAI, and everything I’ve done over the past few days has been in service of keeping this team and its mission together.” He added his anticipation for returning to the company.
Microsoft, OpenAI’s largest investor, played a crucial role in advocating for Altman’s return. In a strategic move, Microsoft hired both Altman and Greg Brockman, OpenAI’s president who had resigned following Altman’s firing. This was interpreted as a step towards reinstating Altman’s leadership role at OpenAI.
Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, supported the changes in OpenAI’s board structure. “We are encouraged by the changes to the OpenAI board. We believe this is a first essential step on a path to more stable, well-informed, and effective governance,” Nadella tweeted.
If Altman’s return is finalized, he will be the fourth CEO of OpenAI in a span of five days. The interim period saw Mira Murati, the company’s CTO, and Emmet Shear, co-founder of Twitch, briefly take up the CEO role.
The reasons behind Altman’s initial dismissal were not fully disclosed, with the board citing a lack of candor in his communications. Shear denied any links between Altman’s ousting and safety concerns related to AI development.