After an intense drama earlier this month, Sam Altman has finally returned to OpenAI as CEO, with Microsoft getting a non-voting observer seat on the company’s board. Following his reinstatement, the board, which had previously ousted him, underwent a near-complete overhaul in response to a rebellion by employees. Notably, Adam D'Angelo, the CEO of the question-and-answer site Quora and the sole member who played a role in Altman's termination has been retained in the boardroom amid these significant changes.
Sam Altman's message to ousted board
Upon his return, Altman conveyed a message to the dismissed board members through a blog post. Altman said that he “loves and respects Ilya Sutskever. For the unversed, Ilya initially joined efforts advocating for the removal of Sam Altman but later reversed his stance by signing an employee letter that called for Altman's reinstatement.
“I think he's a guiding light of the field and a gem of a human being. I harbour zero ill will towards him. While Ilya will no longer serve on the board, we hope to continue our working relationship and are discussing how he can continue his work at OpenAI,” Altman wrote.
“I am grateful to Adam, Tasha, and Helen for working with us to come to this solution that best serves the mission. I’m excited to continue to work with Adam and am sincerely thankful to Helen and Tasha for investing a huge amount of effort in this process…Thank you also to Emmett who had a key and constructive role in helping us reach this outcome. Emmett’s dedication to AI safety and balancing stakeholders’ interests was clear,” Altman wrote in the blog post
The former board of OpenAI comprised entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, Helen Toner, who served as the director of strategy at Georgetown's Center for Security and Emerging Technology, OpenAI's chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, and Adam D'Angelo.
OpenAI new board
OpenAI’s new board consists of chair Bret Taylor, Larry Summers, and Adam D’Angelo, the only remaining holdout from the previous board.
To the new team, Altman said,"I am sure books are going to be written about this time period, and I hope the first thing they say is how amazing the entire team has been. Now that we’re through all of this, we didn’t lose a single employee. You stood firm for each other, this company, and our mission. One of the most important things for the team that builds AGI safely is the ability to handle stressful and uncertain situations and maintain good judgment throughout. Top marks. Thank you all."