Sam Altman will return to OpenAI as its CEO after being ousted by its board, it was announced Wednesday. Greg Brockman, OpenAI’s president who subsequently quit after Altman’s firing, will also return.
Days after the surprise dismissal that left the vast majority of employees in shock and threatening to quit if Altman was not reinstated, OpenAI said in a short statement that it had “reached an agreement in principle,” for Altman to return, marking yet another twist in the unfolding drama.
That agreement, as per Altman’s conditions, meant the current board—the same board that fired him—stepping down.
OpenAI confirmed a new initial board at the AI startup; former Salesforce CEO Bret Taylor, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, and Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo. Taylor will serve as chair.
According to The Verge, D’Angelo sat on the previous board and “remains to give the previous board some representation.”
The statement from OpenAI continued: “We are collaborating to figure out the details. Thank you so much for your patience through this.”
In a statement posted to X, Altman wrote: “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.”
The news comes after Altman on Sunday announced he was heading to Microsoft—one of OpenAI’s main investors.
In a statement at the time, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said Altman and Brockman “will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team.”
Both Altman and Nadella commented on the matter Wednesday.
“When I decided to join Microsoft on Sunday evening, it was clear that was the best path for me and the team,” Altman said in a post on X. “With the new board and with Satya’s support, I’m looking forward to returning to OpenAI, and building on our strong partnership with Microsoft.”
Nadella said, “we are encouraged by the changes to the OpenAI board" and that “we believe this is a first essential step on a path to more stable, well-informed, and effective governance.”
Nadella said he had spoken with both Altman and Brockman, and “agreed they have a key role to play along with the OAI leadership team in ensuring OAI continues to thrive and build on its mission. We look forward to building on our strong partnership and delivering the value of this next generation of AI to our customers and partners.”
Meanwhile, Brockman confirmed he was already returning to OpenAI and “getting back to coding tonight.” He added: “Amazing progress made today. We will come back stronger & more unified than ever.”