Days after his dismissal, OpenAI announced on Tuesday that it had reached a deal for Sam Altman to take over as CEO once more, ending heated debates about what would happen to the startup at the epicentre of the AI revolution.
The business also consented, in theory, to partially reassemble the board of directors that had fired Altman in addition to his return. Alongside Quora CEO and current director Adam D’Angelo are Bret Taylor, a former co-CEO of Salesforce, and Larry Summers, a former U.S. Treasury Secretary, according to OpenAI.
Posting on X, Altman stated, “I’m looking forward to returning to openai.”
The board provided little information behind Altman’s dismissal on Friday, citing only his lack of transparency and the necessity to uphold OpenAI’s goal of creating AI that will benefit humanity.
The non-profit startup, which has long struggled with employee worries about the risks of artificial intelligence and its potential for commercialization, is set to enter a potentially new chapter with the restoration of Altman. The reorganisation on Tuesday seems to have favoured Altman and financial supporter Microsoft (MSFT.O), which is distributing OpenAI’s technology to commercial clients worldwide.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella praised the alterations to OpenAI’s board in a statement on X.
“We believe this is a first essential step on a path to more stable, well-informed, and effective governance,” he stated.
After agreeing to lead a new research team at Microsoft (MSFT.O), which has spent billions of dollars in OpenAI and provided it with the processing capacity required for its technology, Altman’s return also brings an end to a turbulent weekend.
That came after the board of OpenAI rejected his initial effort to rejoin the startup on Sunday by appointing Emmett Shear, the former CEO of Twitch, as an acting CEO.
Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, stated, “While it’s still unclear exactly what the tug-of-war prompting his initial departure involved, Sam Altman’s views about how to run the company will dominate future direction, especially given he’ll be supervised under a new board.”
Shear praised the late-night result on Tuesday in a post on X, stating that it came after “~72 very intense hours of work.”
“This was the pathway that maximised safety alongside doing right by all stakeholders involved,” Shear stated.
Both OpenAI and Microsoft were taken aback by Altman’s firing, but both had acted swiftly to contain the damage over the weekend by promising to recruit both him and the startup’s president, Greg Brockman.
After Altman was fired, Brockman resigned and announced on X that he was “getting back to coding tonight.”
According to a letter seen by Reuters, almost every member of OpenAI’s more than 700-person workforce threatened to quit on Monday unless the board resigned and Altman was given a chance to return.
Altman posted on X after this display of unity, saying, “We have more unity, commitment, and focus than ever before.”