Sam Altman reinstated as CEO of OpenAI

Sam Altman reinstated as CEO of OpenAI

Sam Altman was reinstated Tuesday night as CEO of OpenAI, the company said, successfully reversing his ouster by OpenAI’s board of directors last week after a campaign waged by his allies, employees and investors.

The company’s board of directors will be overhauled, removing several members who had opposed Altman. Adam D’Angelo, CEO of Quora, will be the only holdover.

OpenAI had an “agreement in principle” for Altman to return as CEO, it said in a publish in X. “We are collaborating to determine the details. Thank you very much for your patience during this.”

The return of Altman and Greg Brockman, the company’s president who had resigned in solidarity, and the restructuring of the board of directors, capped five frenetic days that turned OpenAI, the creator of the ChatGPT chatbot and one of the artificial robots, upside down. highest profile in the world. intelligence companies.

“I love openai and everything I’ve done the last few days has been to keep this team and its mission together,” Altman said in a publish in Xadding that he hoped to strengthen OpenAI’s partnership with Microsoft, its largest investor.

OpenAI’s revamped board of directors will include Bret Taylor, an early Facebook officer and former co-CEO of Salesforce; Lawrence Summers, former Secretary of the Treasury; and Mr. D’Angelo, current board member and CEO of the question and answer site, Quora.

Taylor will serve as chairman of the board, the company said.

Microsoft supported the measure. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella saying on

D’Angelo was leading the negotiations, according to two people in contact with the board. The general framework for the changes was set Sunday night, one of those people said.

Determining the board’s composition slowed the decision to bring Altman back, according to that person and another. OpenAI called the new dashboard its “initial” dashboard, indicating that it could be expanded.

A person close to the board’s deliberations said Tuesday that D’Angelo, Tasha McCauley and Helen Toner pushed for Altman to make certain concessions, including an independent investigation into his leadership at OpenAI.

In the end, Toner and McCauley agreed to resign from the board because it was clear it needed a fresh start, this person close to the deliberations said. If they all resigned, they worried it would suggest the board was wrong even though they collectively felt they had done the right thing, this person said.

The outgoing board focused on curbing Altman’s power. In addition to an investigation into his leadership, they blocked his and Brockman’s return to the board and objected to potential board members who feared they couldn’t take on Altman, said this person close to the board negotiations. .

OpenAI’s board of directors surprised Altman and company employees Friday afternoon when they told them he was being pushed out. Brockman, who co-founded the company with Altman and others, resigned in protest.

The ouster kicked off efforts by Altman, 38, his allies in the tech industry and OpenAI employees to force the company’s board of directors to bring him back. On Sunday afternoon, after a weekend of negotiations, the board said it would stand by its decision.

But in a breakneck development just hours later, Microsoft said Altman, Brockman and others would join the company to start a new advanced artificial intelligence lab.

Most of OpenAI’s more than 700 employees signed a letter telling the board that they would leave and follow Altman to Microsoft if he was not reinstated, jeopardizing the future of the new company.

Four board members: Ilya Sutskever, founder of OpenAI; Mr. D’Angelo; Ms. Toner, director of strategy at the Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology; and McCauley, a businesswoman and computer scientist, had initially decided to expel Altman.

But as the employee revolt grew, Mr. Sutskever had second thoughts: “I deeply regret my involvement in the board’s actions,” he said in a message on X. He also signed the letter. Sutskever is no longer on the board of directors, but remains an OpenAI employee.

“Ilya is delighted that Sam has returned as CEO and has been working tirelessly for days to make this happen,” said Mr. Sutskever’s lawyer, Alex Weingarten. “It is the best for the company.”

OpenAI employees had been given time off this week for Thanksgiving, but many workers remained in the office or glued to their screens to follow the drama. “Thank God,” said one employee. “We are so back,” said another.

Thrive Capital, which is leading a new financing offering that will value OpenAI at more than $80 billion, said it would continue to partner with the company “now and in the future.”

Late Tuesday night, OpenAI employees they were celebrating in the company office. Altman called a New York Times reporter and said, “I hope you have a beautiful Thanksgiving.”

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John C. Johnson

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