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OpenAI announces Sam Altman's return as CEO in major shift

Sam Altman is set to reclaim the position of CEO at OpenAI, prevailing over a recent boardroom upheaval that caused turmoil for the company.

Edited By: Vishal Upadhyay New Delhi Updated on: November 22, 2023 12:47 IST
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Image Source : FILE Sam Altman

Sam Altman is set to reclaim the position of CEO at OpenAI, prevailing over a recent boardroom upheaval that caused turmoil for the company. In a recent tweet, OpenAI announced a tentative agreement for Altman's return, forming a new board that includes Bret Taylor, Larry Summers, and Adam D’Angelo, with D’Angelo being a continuation from the previous board.

Sam Altman's response on his return as CEO 

"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 looking forward to returning to openai, and building on our strong partnership with msft," Sam Altman responded in a post on X.

 

Satya Nadella comments on Altman's return 

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella also expressed optimism about the changes to the OpenAI board, considering it a crucial first step towards achieving stable and effective governance. 

"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. Sam, Greg, and I have talked and agreed they have a key role to play along with the OAI leadership team in ensuring OAI continues to thrive and build on its mission," said Satya Nadella.

"We look forward to building on our strong partnership and delivering the value of this next generation of AI to our customers and partners," he added.  

What happened so far? 

According to The Verge, Sam Altman's return to OpenAI is a big surprise, even more unexpected than his sudden departure last Friday. The nonprofit board at OpenAI initially seemed determined to remove Altman, going through two CEOs in three days to avoid bringing him back. Meanwhile, OpenAI employees rebelled, saying they would join Microsoft with Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman if the board didn't step down.

Throughout this situation, the board members who disagreed with Altman didn't give a clear reason for firing him, even when faced with potential lawsuits from investors. On Sunday, a crucial board member, Ilya Sutskever, switched back to Altman’s side, making the remaining three board members more exposed.

Reportedly, Interim CEO Emmett Shear, appointed by the board to replace the previous interim CEO Mira Murati, threatened to resign unless the board could show evidence supporting Altman’s firing. This demand seems to be the key factor that led the board to seriously restart negotiations.

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