Sam Altman is to return as CEO of artificial intelligence firm OpenAI, days after he was ousted in a boardroom coup.

The ChatGPT developer announced that it had reached an "agreement in principle" for Altman to return to the company, adding that it was "collaborating to figure out the details."

In a statement on Twitter following his reinstatement, Altman said that, "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." He added that, "i’m looking forward to returning to openai."

Alongside Altman's return, OpenAI will appoint a new board, consisting of chair Bret Taylor, Larry Summers, and Adam D'Angelo. Altman's fellow OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman, who quit following Altman's departure, will also return to the company, he announced, adding that he was "getting back to coding tonight."


A dramatic week for OpenAI

The news caps off a dramatic week for OpenAI that saw Altman depart the company under a cloud, with the company's board of directors releasing a statement that he "was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities." The board added that it “no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.”

Brockman quit the company in solidarity with his co-founder, with Microsoft, OpenAI's biggest investor, tapping the pair to head up an in-house "advanced AI research team."

With OpenAI facing a staff revolt that saw over 90% of its employees threatening to follow Altman to his new venture, and investors exploring legal action, the company engaged in "intense discussions" to reinstate him as CEO.


The first order of business for the company will likely be a reorganizing of its unusual governance structure, which empowered the board to resist pressure from investors. Originally intended to prevent profit considerations overriding safety in the development of artificial intelligence, the structure has come under scrutiny, with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella noting that, "At this point, I think it’s very clear that something has to change around the governance."

Following the news of Altman's reinstatment as CEO, Nadella tweeted that, "We are encouraged by the changes to the OpenAI board," adding that, "We believe this is a first essential step on a path to more stable, well-informed, and effective governance."

Image credit

Main image by Village Global licensed under CC BY 2.0 DEED.

Generally Intelligent Newsletter

A weekly AI journey narrated by Gen, a generative AI model.