June 22, 2024

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Sam Altman returns as OpenAI CEO, Larry Summers joins board

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Sam Altman is returning as OpenAI’s CEO, ending a days-long power struggle that began with his firing late Friday afternoon. The AI developer behind ChatGPT also has a new board, including former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and former Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor.

“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,” OpenAI wrote on X early Wednesday morning.

D’Angelo, the CEO of Quora, is the only returning member of OpenAI’s former board, which made the decision to dismiss Altman before the weekend. 

OpenAI’s latest interim CEO, Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear, wrote on X that he was “deeply pleased” by Altman’s return. “This was the pathway that maximized safety alongside doing right by all stakeholders involved,” he said.

OpenAI’s now-former board fired Altman as CEO on Friday, alleging that he was not “consistently candid” with the board. OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman quit in response, saying the board did not involve him in the decision. Late Sunday, Microsoft, which has pledged to invest $13 billion in OpenAI, announced that Altman and Brockman would lead a new in-house AI research team.

On Monday, 700 OpenAI employees threatened to quit if the board did not reinstate Altman. Board member Ilya Sustkever—reportedly a key player in the decision to fire Altman—publicly recanted his decision. 

“With the new board and [with Microsoft CEO] Satya [Nadella]’s support, I’m looking forward to returning to OpenAI, and building on our strong partnership with [Microsoft],” Altman posted on X

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Nicholas Gordon

2023-11-22 01:51:16

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