IBL News | New York
Sam Altman will be reinstated as OpenAI’s CEO, successfully reversing his ouster by the company’s board last week after a campaign waged by employees and investors.
Yesterday, OpenAI said it had reached a deal in principle for Sam Altman to return as CEO, with a new board chaired by former Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor.
The board will be remade without several members who had opposed Mr. Altman.
“We have reached an agreement in principle for Sam to return to OpenAI as CEO with a new initial board of Bret Taylor (Chair), Larry Summers, and Adam D’Angelo,” OpenAI said in a post to X. “We are collaborating to figure out the details. Thank you so much for your patience through this.”
Altman’s return should quell what was an all-out revolt by OpenAI employees against his removal and mark the beginning of the end of one of the most-watched corporate sagas in tech history.
Adam D’Angelo, the CEO of the website Quora and a former early Facebook employee, was already a member of the OpenAI board, but other previous board members will not remain.
The outgoing members include tech entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, OpenAI chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, and Helen Toner, director of strategy and foundational research grants at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology.
On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that the board had been bickering for more than a year on questions about the safe development of AI, including how quickly to roll out the technology while ensuring humans do not lose control of it. Altman was on the side of moving quickly, the newspaper reported.
Altman said in a separate statement on X that he was happy to return as CEO.
“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 wrote, eschewing traditional punctuation.
Altman added that, with the new board in place, he was “looking forward to returning” and “building on our strong partnership” with Microsoft.
OpenAI and Microsoft have a longstanding partnership, with Microsoft having invested in the startup and OpenAI using Microsoft’s cloud computing services.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a post on X that Microsoft is “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.”
Other OpenAI executives celebrated the decision.
Mira Murati, who was briefly interim CEO after Altman’s ouster, reposted the OpenAI announcement late Tuesday with a simple blue heart emoji. Greg Brockman, the startup’s president, and a co-founder, wrote on X, “Returning to OpenAI & getting back to coding tonight.”
Elon Musk, the tech billionaire who was among the first donors to OpenAI when it was a nonprofit, said that Altman’s return was better than one alternative: Altman and most of OpenAI’s employees going to work for Microsoft.
“Less concentration of power,” Musk wrote on X.
Meanwhile, the company rolled out a new voice feature for ChatGPT on Tuesday with a subtle joke about the situation.
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.
We are collaborating to figure out the details. Thank you so much for your patience through this.
— OpenAI (@OpenAI) November 22, 2023
OpenAI is nothing without its people https://t.co/XYKLQ61e6l
— OpenAI (@OpenAI) November 22, 2023
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. when i decided to join msft on sun evening, it was clear that was the best path for me and the team. with the new board and w satya’s support, i’m…
— Sam Altman (@sama) November 22, 2023