Sam Altman, co-founder of OpenAI, has officially returned as CEO following an unexpected upheaval within the company’s leadership. This reinstatement comes a week after a controversial decision by the OpenAI board of directors to remove Altman from his position.
Altman expressed his excitement about rejoining the company in an announcement, emphasizing his unwavering confidence in OpenAI’s future prospects. “I have never been more excited about the future,” Altman stated. “Our resilience and spirit set us apart in the industry, and I feel incredibly optimistic about our success in achieving our mission.”
The saga began on November 17 when Altman was abruptly ousted due to alleged communication discrepancies that hindered the board’s oversight responsibilities. This unexpected move prompted the board to appoint CTO Mira Murati as interim CEO, lauding her commendable service during this transitional period.
Altman, appreciative of Murati’s leadership, conveyed his gratitude, acknowledging her invaluable contributions. “Mira is an incredible leader, and OpenAI owes much of its success to her,” Altman remarked, confirming her return to the role of CTO.
The company also announced its refreshed board of directors, featuring notable individuals such as Bret Taylor as Chair, economist Larry Summers, and Quora co-founder Adam D’Angelo. Microsoft, the largest investor in OpenAI, will have a non-voting observer on the board.
Altman addressed potential conflicts of interest, particularly concerning D’Angelo’s dual roles at Quora and OpenAI. He assured transparency and D’Angelo’s proactive measures to mitigate any conflicts, aiming for unbiased decision-making.
Previously, Microsoft had expressed intentions to onboard Altman and former OpenAI President Greg Brockman to lead their advanced AI research team, a plan that did not materialize.
Altman praised Microsoft’s steadfast support and expressed excitement about their non-voting observer role on the new board.
Following a swift turnaround, Altman and Brockman resumed their respective roles as CEO and President after being ousted for 72 hours, signaling a resolution to the leadership dispute.
“I am thrilled to continue the journey of building beneficial AGI with the best team and mission in the world,” Altman concluded, expressing his eagerness to steer OpenAI’s future endeavors.