OpenAI has announced significant changes to its board of directors, marked by the return of Sam Altman as CEO. This decision comes after a shocking period that saw Altman removed without adequate notice, causing unrest within the company.
The new board introduces Microsoft as a “non-voting observer,” providing the tech giant with greater insight into OpenAI’s operations without having an official vote in major decisions. Microsoft, a major investor with a 49 percent stake in the for-profit entity controlled by the nonprofit board, was previously unaware of certain aspects of the board’s activities. This lack of transparency became apparent during Altman’s removal, posing a threat to a crucial partnership in the tech industry.
Altman expressed his excitement about the future in an internal letter circulated at OpenAI. Mira Murati, briefly appointed interim CEO by the previous board, will return to her role as CTO. The new board includes Bret Taylor, former co-CEO of Salesforce; Quora CEO D’Angelo; and economist and political veteran Larry Summers.
Altman emphasized his gratitude for the team’s resilience during uncertain times, highlighting the importance of providing people with the opportunity to experience the benefits and promise of AI. He stressed the commitment to users, customers, partners, and governments globally.
Sam highlighted that there are plans to continue collaboration with Ilya, who won’t serve on the board. Partnerships with Adam, Tasha, and Helen contributed to this solution. The leadership team’s capability to run the company independently is praised.
The message emphasizes the importance of the entire team, expressing gratitude to partners, users, and those who supported OpenAI’s mission. Microsoft’s partnership is highlighted, with Satya, Kevin, Amy, and Brad playing crucial roles.
The immediate priorities include advancing research, focusing on safety efforts, improving and deploying products, and serving customers. The board, led by Bret, will work on diversity, governance, and independent reviews.
Bret Taylor also, in his message, expresses gratitude to the OpenAI community. The Board aims to strengthen governance, build a diverse board, stabilize the organization, and enhance OpenAI’s governance structure for all stakeholders’ trust.
The recent upheaval at OpenAI unfolded when Altman was abruptly removed by the old board, leading to widespread dissatisfaction among employees and investors. Disputes over OpenAI’s direction and issues with transparency were reported as causes for the sudden change. Altman acknowledged potential conflicts of interest in OpenAI’s future success, outlining a commitment to full disclosure and leaving decisions in such situations to the board.
The reinstatement of Altman and the addition of Microsoft to the board signify a turning point for OpenAI, with a renewed focus on AI development, transparency, and governance.