Sam Altman is set to make a surprising return as CEO of OpenAI following a tumultuous period marked by internal strife and power struggles within the company’s leadership. Altman, previously fired from his position, will be reinstated alongside former president Greg Brockman, who resigned in protest against Altman’s dismissal.
In a late Tuesday statement, OpenAI confirmed an “agreement in principle” for Altman’s return, forming a new board comprising Bret Taylor, Larry Summers, and Adam D’Angelo. Notably, D’Angelo, retained from the previous board, maintains a seat in this arrangement to represent the former board’s stance.
Sources familiar with the negotiations reveal that this initial board’s primary role is to nominate an expanded board of up to nine members, aiming to reset OpenAI’s governance. Notably, Microsoft, a significant investor in OpenAI, seeks a seat on this reconstituted board, as does Altman himself, ensuring stability after recent upheavals.
An external investigation into the events leading to Altman’s dismissal is also on the horizon, reflecting the unresolved tensions within the organization. Despite announcements of Altman’s return, a palpable power struggle continues to linger, evident from ongoing discussions among involved parties.
All major stakeholders have confirmed the impending return of Altman, pending final paperwork. Altman expressed his recent actions as dedicated to preserving the team’s unity and mission.
Thrive Capital, a major investor, hailed Altman’s return as pivotal for OpenAI’s future and its technological contributions, emphasizing his commitment to the company’s integrity.
The unforeseen comeback of Altman follows a dramatic sequence of events since his abrupt departure, demonstrating the internal upheaval at OpenAI. The nonprofit’s board initially stood firm in their decision to remove Altman, prompting employee protests and threats of defection to Microsoft.
Amid the turmoil, details behind Altman’s dismissal remain undisclosed, with board members withholding specific reasons despite pressures from investors and internal dissent. Altman’s reinstatement marks a dramatic turn in OpenAI’s leadership saga, highlighting the persistent internal strife and the complexity of its resolution.