OpenAI said that Sam Altman was officially reinstated as chief executive officer of the company and it has a new initial three-member board of directors.
The announcement Wednesday — a blog post penned by Altman — comes two weeks after the CEO’s shock firing from the artificial intelligence startup followed by an operatic boardroom power struggle.
OpenAI also said that Mira Murati, who had been chief technology officer until Altman’s ousting, when she was briefly named interim CEO, is once again the company’s CTO.
Microsoft Corp., OpenAI’s largest investor, will join the board as a non-voting observer, OpenAI said in a statement. The board members are Bret Taylor, the former co-CEO of Salesforce Inc., who will be the chairman, Larry Summers, the former US Treasury Secretary, and Adam D’Angelo, a holdover from the previous board and the CEO of question-and-answer site Quora.
“I have never been more excited about the future,” Altman said, adding that he is “extremely grateful for everyone’s hard work in an unclear and unprecedented situation.”
In a note accompanying Altman’s post, Taylor said the new board members will focus on building a “qualified, diverse board,” though he didn’t specify how many additional members it will include. Taylor also said the company will “enhance the governance structure of OpenAI.” The company has been criticized for a structure that allowed a nonprofit board to oust the company’s CEO without consulting its largest investors.
Ilya Sutskever, OpenAI’s chief scientist and co-founder, was part of the board that fired Altman. Later, Sutskever said that he regretted his role in the CEO’s ouster. In the post Wednesday, Altman wrote that Sutskever won’t be a board member, but the company is “discussing how he can continue his work at OpenAI.”
Altman’s firing on Nov. 17 from the maker of the popular ChatGPT chatbot shocked the tech industry. That day, the board said in a statement that Altman was not “consistently candid” with OpenAI’s directors, “hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities.”
The decision touched off a whirlwind five days at the company: OpenAI co-founder and president Greg Brockman quit in protest over Altman’s ouster. Murati became interim CEO, moved to re-hire Altman, and was soon replaced as CEO by the board. Meanwhile, nearly all of OpenAI’s roughly 770 employees signed a letter threatening to quit unless Altman was reinstated.
On Nov. 21, OpenAI said it reached a deal, in principle, to reinstate Altman as CEO and replace the board.