San Francisco – OpenAI said Tuesday that its co-founder Sam Altman would return to the tech company as CEO, days afterby its board and then quickly .
“We have reached an agreement in principle for Sam to return to OpenAI as CEO with a new initial board of Bret Taylor (Chairman), Larry Summers and Adam D’Angelo,” OpenAI said in a post on social media platform X.
In his own statement on the platform, Altman said he loved OpenAI and that everything he had done “over the last few days has helped keep this team and its mission together.”
OpenAI also said it is forming a new board that will include former Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor, who will serve as chairman; economist and former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers; and existing director Adam D’Angelo, CEO of Quora. Three directors involved in the decision to oust Altman – Ilya Sutskever, Helen Toner and Tasha McCauley – are leaving the board.
Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, said he expects the overhaul of OpenAI’s board to strengthen its leadership. “The former, now infamous, board members are finally gone after the failed coup, and now OpenAI will essentially be much the same as before this soap opera began,” he said in a report.
Altman said that when he decided Sunday night to join Microsoft, “it was clear it was the best path for me and the team,” but he said the new board announced by OpenAI — and the support of Microsoft’s chairman and CEO Satya Nadella — he was looking forward to returning to the company he helped found and “building on our strong partnership with” the software giant.
Nadella said Microsoft management had been “encouraged by the changes to the OpenAI board” and that the company believed they were “an important first step on the road to more stable, informed and effective governance.”
OpenAI, which makes the popular artificial intelligence-powered chatbot ChatGPT, said Friday that Altman was pushed out after a review found he was “not consistently honest in his communications” with the board, which had lost confidence in his ability to lead OpenAI.
However, a Wall Street research firm said it believed tensions had arisen over Altman’s push to develop more advanced products.
“These tensions likely resulted in frustrating communication and Sam making some operational decisions without keeping the board fully aware,” New Street Research said in a Monday note. “The coup and the Sibylline associate blog post that Sam was not ‘consistently honest in his communications with the board, which impeded its ability to exercise its responsibilities,’ are the result of this situation.”
A board member tweeted that they regretted their participation in the decision to oust Altman.
“I deeply regret my participation in the board’s actions. I never intended to harm OpenAI. I love everything we’ve built together and I will do everything I can to reunite the company,” board member Ilya Sutskever wrote in a Monday morning social media post.
Altman catapulted ChatGPT to global fame while serving as the company’s CEO, and in the past year has become Silicon Valley’s go-to voice on the promise and potential dangers of artificial intelligence.