Leading artificial intelligence research lab and ChatGPT-parent OpenAI has announced the return of its recently fired chief executive officer Sam Altman, marking a pivotal moment for the company after a tumultuous week. The reshuffle sees Mira, previously the interim CEO, returning to her role as Chief Technology Officer and Greg Brockman returns as President.
Furthermore, the company has formed a new board of directors, succeeding the majority of the previous board that attempted to oust Altman. The new initial board includes Bret Taylor as Chair, along with political veteran Larry Summers and Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo. OpenAI’s major backer Microsoft has also gained representation on the new Board and is included as a non-voting observer.
In a heartfelt message to the company, Altman expressed his enthusiasm and confidence in OpenAI’s future. “I have never been more excited about the future,” he said. “I am extremely grateful for everyone’s hard work in an unclear and unprecedented situation, and I believe our resilience and spirit set us apart in the industry,” Altman added.
Going forward, the OpenAI chief says to prioritise advancing their research plan and further investing in their full-stack safety efforts. Altman further notes that the initial Board members Bret, Larry, and Adam will also be working on “building out a board of diverse perspectives, improving our governance structure and overseeing an independent review of recent events.”
To recap, in a surprising shift at the helm of OpenAI, Altman was ousted from the company on November 17. The company stated that Altman “was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities” as the reason for his exit from OpenAI. The company’s President and co-founder Greg Brockman also exited after he was demoted from the role of chairman of the board but as said to continue his role within the company.
The dramatic turn of events did not end just here and the week was filled with news of Microsoft hiring Altman to head a “new advanced AI research team” along with Brockman and other colleagues. Despite several negotiations and severe backlash to reinstate Altman as CEO of the company, OpenAI instead appointed Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear as the new interim chief. The atmosphere within OpenAI remained tense for the next couple of days as hundreds of the company’s employees signed a petition calling for the resignation of the remaining board members. Or alternatively, for the employees to become part of Microsoft and operate under the leadership of Sam Altman.