After a tumultuous few days, the leadership crisis at artificial intelligence startup OpenAI has come to an end. Sam Altman, who founded OpenAI in 2015, will return as CEO along with former president Greg Brockman.
The company announced late Tuesday that an “agreement in principle” has been reached for Altman and Brockman to resume their former roles. Joining them will be a new 3-person board composed of tech veterans Bret Taylor, Larry Summers, and Adam D’Angelo.
The initial mandate for this transitional board will be to appoint an expanded board of up to nine members to reset OpenAI’s governance. Both Microsoft, which has invested billions in OpenAI, and Altman himself are expected to have seats on the new board.
We have reached an agreement in principle for Sam Altman to return to OpenAI as CEO with a new initial board of Bret Taylor (Chair), Larry Summers, and Adam D'Angelo.
We are collaborating to figure out the details. Thank you so much for your patience through this.
— OpenAI (@OpenAI) November 22, 2023
As part of the leadership resolution, both sides have consented to an independent investigation by an outside law firm into the extraordinary events of the past week. While the power struggle may not be fully over, Altman’s return as CEO is said to be finalized, apart from some paperwork.
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. with the new board and w satya’s support, i’m…
— Sam Altman (@sama) November 22, 2023
In statements, key OpenAI stakeholders, including employees, investors, and interim CEO Emmett Shear, expressed support for Altman’s reinstatement. His abrupt dismissal on Friday provoked backlash across the company, with some engineers threatening to quit if the decision was not reversed.
The full reasons behind Altman’s initial ousting remain unclear, as the board has not publicly provided details. With his return now secured, focus will turn to charting a steady course forward for the increasingly influential AI startup.