After days of corporate chaos that has captivated the tech industry, Sam Altman, the co-founder and recently ousted CEO of OpenAI, is set to return to his position.
In a statement posted to X late Tuesday, OpenAI said it had reached an agreement “in principle” for Altman to return as CEO. The statement mentioned the appointment of a new “initial” board of directors, including Bret Taylor as chair, Larry Summers, and Adam D’Angelo, with Adam D’Angelo as the only existing director to remain on the board.
Altman shared on X, in his characteristic lower-case style, “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.”
Greg Brockman, an OpenAI co-founder who was removed from his role as chair of the board when Altman was fired and later quit in protest, is also set to regain his position. “Returning to OpenAI & getting back to coding tonight,” he shared on X.
OpenAI’s proposed all-male board would appear to remove three directors who voted to eject Altman: Ilya Sutskever, Helen Toner, and Tasha McCauley. The Verge reported that under the proposed agreement the initial board will appoint a new board of up to nine people to reshape the corporate governance of OpenAI.
Kelly Sims, a partner at Thrive Capital, a major OpenAI investor that supported Altman’s negotiations with the company’s board in recent days, issued a statement welcoming his return. “Sam and Greg possess a profound commitment to the company’s integrity, and an unmatched ability to inspire and lead,” the statement said. “We believe this is the best outcome for the company, its employees, those who build on their technologies, and the world at large,” Sims said.
Long Road Back
The negotiations over Altman’s return were acknowledged in a memo sent to staff on Monday by OpenAI’s vice president of global affairs, Anna Makanju, which said the discussions included Altman, the board, and the new interim CEO, Emmett Shear.
Shear shared on X after OpenAI’s announcement of the agreement for Altman to return that he was “deeply pleased by this result, after ~72 very intense hours of work.” It was unclear whether he would be staying at the company. He changed his profile on X to list himself as “interim ex-CEO of OpenAI.”