In a surprising turn of events, Sam Altman is set to make a quick comeback as the CEO of OpenAI, just five days after his sudden departure caused turmoil within the organization. The decision comes after a majority of OpenAI’s workforce threatened to resign in protest against Altman’s unexpected dismissal.
The official announcement, made on the platform X (formerly Twitter), revealed that an agreement in principle had been reached for Sam Altman’s return as CEO. The new initial board will feature Bret Taylor as Chair, alongside Larry Summers and Adam D’Angelo. Details of the agreement are still being worked out, according to the company.
Expressing his enthusiasm for the return, Altman shared, “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. I’m looking forward to returning to OpenAI and building on our strong partnership with Microsoft.”
Shortly after Altman’s announcement, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who had recently welcomed Altman into the company, stated that they had discussed the matter and agreed that Altman’s return is a crucial step towards establishing a more stable, well-informed, and effective governance structure within OpenAI.
Altman’s dismissal on Friday stemmed from disagreements with OpenAI’s board regarding the pace of developing and monetizing artificial intelligence. Negotiations for his return faced an impasse on Sunday, partly due to pressure for existing board members to resign. Instead, the board appointed former Twitch CEO Emmett Shear as the new leader, and Microsoft, OpenAI’s biggest backer, revealed plans to have Altman head a new in-house AI team.
Greg Brockman, President and Co-Founder of OpenAI, who had left after the departure of Sam Altman, also mentioned through a tweet in X (formerly Twitter) about this return to the role.
This recent shakeup is not the first for OpenAI, which was founded in 2015. Co-chair Elon Musk has previously undergone leadership changes, and in 2020, other executives departed to create competitor Anthropic, emphasizing a greater focus on AI safety.
Sam Altman gained prominence with the launch of ChatGPT last year, sparking increased competition and billions of dollars being invested in AI research and development. The swift turnaround at OpenAI suggests a renewed focus on stability and collaboration as the organization navigates the evolving landscape of artificial intelligence.