Altman returns as CEO of OpenAI with a new board

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Sam Altman has been reappointed as the CEO of OpenAI. The reappointment is part of a broader agreement that also establishes a new board chaired by Bret Taylor, former co-CEO of Salesforce.

The new board will include notable figures such as former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Adam D’Angelo, co-founder of Quora. With this change, independent directors Tasha McCauley and Helen Toner, along with OpenAI’s chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, will depart from the board. Greg Brockman, previously OpenAI’s board chair and president, is set to return to the company.

A notable aspect of the agreement is the initiation of an independent investigation into the circumstances leading to Altman’s original dismissal. This follows the shock in the tech community after OpenAI’s board announced Altman’s firing for not being “consistently candid in his communications,” while clarifying that there was no “malfeasance” involved.

The situation escalated with Microsoft and Altman announcing their partnership, and an open letter from OpenAI’s employees demanding the board’s resignation. The letter, which nearly every employee signed, including Sutskever who initially supported Altman’s firing, played a crucial role in this reversal. Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear was named interim CEO during this period.

Despite the drama in which Microsoft nearly took over all the OpenAI team, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Altman spoke positively of Altman’s return to OpenAI and the continuing relationship between the companies.

Altman tweeted, “i love openai, and everything i’ve done over the past few days has been in service of keeping this team and its mission together. when i decided to join msft on sun evening, it was clear that was the best path for me and the team.”

Satya Nadella, “We are encouraged by the changes to the OpenAI board. We believe this is a first essential step on a path to more stable, well-informed, and effective governance.”

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