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Breaking: OpenAI has another new CEO, and it's the same old CEO, Sam Altman

It's really hard to keep up with the corporate drama at OpenAI, the creators of ChatGPT. But hopefully the drama has ended.
By
November 22, 2023
OpenAI on website on smartphone stock photo (3)
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • OpenAI has chosen a new CEO, and it’s the return of the ex-CEO and co-founder, Sam Altman.
  • As part of the arrangement for Altman’s return, OpenAI has a new initial Board of Directors.

OpenAI, the creators of ChatGPT, has been plunged into chaos since Friday last week when its Board of Directors fired its CEO and co-founder, Sam Altman. Since then, the company has had two CEOs in the form of Mira Murati (OpenAI’s Chief Technology Officer) and Emmett Shear (ex-Twitch CEO). Now, the company has a new Board of Directors, and they have chosen a new CEO, Sam Altman (yes, the previous one himself).

OpenAI announced through its X (formerly known as Twitter) account that it has agreed in principle for its ex-CEO Sam Altman to return as CEO. As part of the arrangement, the composition of its Board of Directors will be changed.

Previously, OpenAI’s Board of Directors included Sam Altman, Greg Brockman (President of OpenAI, who announced his departure after learning of Altman’s exit), as well as Ilya Sutskever, Helen Toner, Tasha McCauley, and Adam D’Angelo. Of this old Board, only D’Angelo is part of the new one, being joined by Bret Taylor and Larry Summers as the initial new Board of Directors.

A report from The Verge citing a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations says that the sole job of this initial board is to vet and appoint a new formal board of up to 9 people, with a seat likely going to Altman and another to a Microsoft representative. The report also mentions that the previous interim CEO, Shear, threatened to resign unless the board could provide documentation or evidence of wrongdoing to support Altman’s firing.

Altman has confirmed the news of his return to OpenAI. Curiously, this is also the first confirmation from his end of him having joined Microsoft.

Altman joining Microsoft was announced by none other than Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Nadella has now confirmed the new development, indicating that Altman’s return to OpenAI has Microsoft’s blessing. Microsoft is a key investor in OpenAI, owning 49% of the entity with more than $13 billion invested in it.

Altman’s return as CEO should calm down the drama that has enveloped OpenAI since Friday. Practically all of OpenAI’s 700-odd employees had threatened to quit and join Microsoft under Altman and Brockman if the old Board of Directors did not resign and Altman and Brockman were not reinstated.

Brockman has announced that he has also returned to OpenAI.

Hopefully, we can go back to seeing OpenAI in the news for its AI innovations rather than corporate drama now.