OpenAI announced today that it has reached an agreement for Sam Altman to return as CEO after nearly all employees threatened to quit over his surprise removal last week. The agreement also appoints new board members Bret Taylor as chair, along with Larry Summers and Adam D’Angelo.
Confirming his return, Altman said he loves OpenAI, and everything he’s done recently has been to keep the team and mission together. He added that he is looking forward to coming back to OpenAI and building on their partnership with Microsoft.
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
Minutes after the announcement, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who recently welcomed Altman, said they discussed the matter and agreed this was an essential first step to building more stable and effective governance at OpenAI. Additionally, you can also read about- Microsoft Copilot: Your AI Sidekick for Software and Services
Altman, who was fired last Friday following disagreements over AI development and commercialization pace, had been negotiating his return. Those talks reached an impasse on Sunday, partially over pressure to get existing board members to resign. Instead, the board appointed ex-Twitch CEO Emmett Shear as the new leader and said Microsoft would hire Altman.
This isn’t OpenAI’s first shakeup since launching in 2015. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, a co-founder, was once its co-chair. In 2020, other executives left to found a competitor, Anthropic, claiming a greater focus on AI safety.
Altman shot to fame after last year’s ChatGPT launch, kickstarting a race to advance AI capabilities and investments.