Sam Altman set to return as OpenAI CEO following surprise ousting

Along with Altman, former president Greg Brockman will return to OpenAI and there will be a new board

The OpenAI drama that has filled headlines for the last few days seems to be winding down — though it’s far from over — now that Sam Altman is set to return as CEO. OpenAI’s former president Greg Brockman, who quit in protest of the Altman situation, will also return.

The company behind ChatGPT released a statement late on Tuesday revealing it has an “agreement in principle” for Altman to return. Additionally, there will be a new board, including Bret Taylor, Larry Summers, and Adam D’Angelo. The Verge notes that D’Angelo was on the previous board, which ousted Altman on Friday. His presence is intended to give the previous board some representation.

Ultimately, this small board will vet and appoint more members, eventually expanding to nine people, and resetting the governance of OpenAI. Altman wants a seat on the expanded board, as does Microsoft, which committed to investing billions in the company.

Moreover, both sides of the OpenAI struggle reportedly want to investigate the whole saga. The Verge says an outside, independent law firm will likely handle the investigation.

The Verge also reports that Altman’s return is a done deal, aside from last-minute paperwork.

It’s quite a surprise to see Altman return to OpenAI after a tumultuous few days. OpenAI’s board ousted Altman on Friday and started shuffling through replacement CEOs. Meanwhile, OpenAI employees rallied around Altman and threatened to follow Altman and Brockman to Microsoft if the board didn’t resign.

Interestingly, The Verge reports that Ilya Sutskever, a key board member and OpenAI’s chief scientist, flipped back to Altman’s camp on Sunday after hearing a plea from Brockman’s wife. Sutskever officiated their wedding at OpenAI headquarters.

While the OpenAI drama seems to be winding down now, it’s likely far from over. Barring some other surprise twist, there’s still the forthcoming investigation to look forward to. The board members who ousted Altman have so far withheld a reason for their actions, leaving plenty of room for speculation about why Altman was fired in the first place. Perhaps we’ll learn more after the investigation.

Header image credit: Shutterstock

Source: The Verge

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