Sam Altman Returns as CEO of OpenAI

OpenAI’s former CEO, Sam Altman, has been reinstated as CEO after a boardroom coup that sent the company into chaos. The company’s board of directors will be overhauled, jettisoning several members who had opposed Altman. The return of Altman and Greg Brockman, the company’s president who had resigned in solidarity, and the remaking of the board, capped a frenetic five days that upended OpenAI, the maker of the ChatGPT chatbot and one of the world’s highest-profile artificial intelligence companies.

The company said in a statement late Tuesday that it has an “agreement in principle” for Altman to return alongside a new board composed of Bret Taylor, Larry Summers, and Adam D’Angelo. D’Angelo is a holdover from the previous board that initially fired Altman on Friday. He remains on this new board to give the previous board some representation, we’re told.

The return of Altman could potentially usher in a new era for the startup which had long juggled concerns among staff about AI’s dangers and its potential for commercialization. OpenAI had an “agreement in principle” for Altman to return as chief executive, it said in a post to X. “We are collaborating to figure out the details. Thank you so much for your patience through this”

The reshuffle will favor Altman and Microsoft, which has pledged billions of dollars to the startup and is rolling out its technology to its customers globally. “There are still huge questions about why Altman was fired and why Microsoft had been kept in the dark about the decision,” said Danni Hewson, AJ Bell’s head of financial analysis.

Altman’s return marks the beginning of a new era for the company, with a new board and a focus on the safe development of AI. The company had long juggled concerns among staff about AI’s dangers and its potential for commercialization. The return of Altman consolidates his influence over the direction of OpenAI, and probably means it will be more bold and profit-focused, but also potentially less risk-averse.