Sam Altman’s Swift Comeback and New Board

Sam Altman returned to his position as CEO of OpenAI in just five days. And the board of the AI company will alter as a result.

The newly appointed board, which replaced the one that lost faith in Sam Altman’s leadership and nearly revolted after he was removed, is made up entirely of men and includes former Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor, former US Treasury secretary Larry Summers, and Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo—the only former board member to remain on the board.

OpenAI is “collaborating to figure out the details” of Sam Altman’s reinstatement, the company said in a post on X.

Taylor was in charge of monitoring Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter while he was a board member of the company. Since leaving the government, Summers has worked primarily in academia.

The previous board, which was in charge of Sam Altman’s dismissal, was made up of Ilya Sutskever, the chief scientist and co-founder of OpenAI, Greg Brockman, the president of OpenAI, and three independent directors: D’Angelo of Quora, technology entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, and Helen Toner, a director of strategy at the Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology.

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What Caused Sam Altman To Be Fired As CEO by Openai’s Board?

In addition to calling Sam Altman “consistently candid in his communications with the board,” the board has yet to make public the specifics of their justification.

Here’s a brief summary of the drama surrounding OpenAI:

  • On Friday, November 17, OpenAI announced that Mira Murati, the chief technical officer, has taken over as interim CEO of the company, taking over from Sam Altman. Soon after, three prominent OpenAI researchers and president Greg Brockman resigned from the organization.
  • On Saturday, November 18, Sam Altman starts posting loving messages for his former coworkers on the social media site X.
  • On Sunday, November 19, Sam Altman shares a picture of himself at OpenAI’s headquarters while sporting a guest badge. He comments, “This is the first and last time I wear one of these.” That evening, Satya Nadella makes an announcement about Sam Altman and Brockman joining Microsoft to head an advanced artificial intelligence research team. OpenAI has selected Emmett Shear, the former CEO of Twitch, as its interim leader.
  • On Monday, November 20, If Sam Altman is not reinstated as OpenAI’s boss and the company’s board resigns, over 500 workers have threatened to leave. A cohesive statement is shared by Murati, Brad Lightcap, the chief operational officer, and other OpenAI staff members: “OpenAI is nothing without its people.” Workers post heart-shaped emoticons on X, and Sam Altman returns the favor by posting a heart-shaped emoticon.
  • In response to the outpouring of support for Sam Altman, Ilya Sutskever, co-founder and chief scientist of OpenAI and a member of the since-dissolved board, writes on X: “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.”
  • On Tuesday, November 21, OpenAI announced late Tuesday night that Sam Altman had rejoined as CEO and has a new board. The business writes on X, “Thank you so much for your patience through this.” Now, we can all go back to sleep.

What now?

Sam Altman’s amazing and prompt return to OpenAI will please him, as well as the company’s staff, investors, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. (Nadella has stated in multiple interviews over the last few days that he will back Sam Altman’s choice on where to go next.)

Naturally, it helps that Microsoft, the company’s largest investor, will continue to gain from Sam Altman’s direction of the group creating OpenAI’s sophisticated large-language models.

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