- OpenAI reverses its decision to fire Sam Altman.
- The company has agreed to bring him back as CEO.
- OpenAI is also making changes in its board members and has appointed a new temporary board.
The world’s leading AI tech company, OpenAI, has been trending for all the wrong reasons after firing its CEO Sam Altman. Last Friday, the board members of OpenAI fired its founder and CEO citing that they no longer had the confidence in him to lead the company.
The situation escalated quickly as OpenAI investors started demanding proof of Sam Altman’s shortcomings at the company, which the board has reportedly failed to provide. In the latest turn of events, OpenAI has hired back Sam Altman as the CEO through an official announcement.
OpenAI Agrees To Bring Back Sam Altman as CEO
OpenAI has officially announced that they are bringing back Sam Altman as the CEO. The company is also making some changes to its board members and is still in discussions to finalise the terms.
The new board of OpenAI will consist of Bret Taylor, Larry Summers, and Adam D’Angelo. OpenAI says that the final details of the restructuring will be announced later. The announcement also makes it clear that OpenAI and Sam Altman have mutually agreed to this decision.
We have reached an agreement in principle for Sam Altman to return to OpenAI as CEO with a new initial board of Bret Taylor (Chair), Larry Summers, and Adam D'Angelo.
We are collaborating to figure out the details. Thank you so much for your patience through this.
— OpenAI (@OpenAI) November 22, 2023
To recall, the OpenAI board fired Sam Altman on November 17 by citing that he had not been candid in his communication with the company. OpenAI released a statement mentioning that the board members did not have the confidence to let Sam continue leading the company.
The decision to fire Altman was supported by Ilya Sutskever, who is the Co-Founder of OpenAI. This meant that Altman was almost betrayed by his partner, as Ilya has been associated with the organization since its foundation.
Shortly after firing Altman, OpenAI appointed Emmett Shear as the new CEO. Emmett is the co-founder of the popular streaming platform Twitch and was also the CEO there for almost 12 years. He had resigned from Twitch earlier this year.
We remain committed to our partnership with OpenAI and have confidence in our product roadmap, our ability to continue to innovate with everything we announced at Microsoft Ignite, and in continuing to support our customers and partners. We look forward to getting to know Emmett…
— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) November 20, 2023
OpenAI’s biggest investor Microsoft then jumped into the situation and hired Sam Altman and his partner Greg Brockman to lead a new AI research division. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that the company will back Altman in this new position, and will also continue to focus on its partnership with OpenAI.
While this was happening, employees of OpenAI started showing their support for Altman publically on Twitter. It started with Altman saying ‘i love the openai team so much’. The OpenAI staff replied to the post with hearts and it was clear they were on Altman’s side in this situation.
— Mira Murati (@miramurati) November 19, 2023
Things escalated further when over 500+ OpenAI employees threatened to quit the company unless Sam Altman was reinstated. Moreover, Microsoft had assured job positions to all OpenAI employees willing to quit and join Sam Altman in his new division. This meant that OpenAI was about to lose over 95% of its employees which would have proven to be disastrous.
It looks like the OpenAI board has agreed to some negotiations to find the best out of this situation. As per the latest announcement, Sam Altman will now return to OpenAI as the CEO. Here’s a summary of everything that happened at OpenAI within the last week.
— mysmartprice (@mysmartprice) November 22, 2023
The latest board members at OpenAI also bring a plethora of business and technical experience. For reference, here are their past experiences:
Bret Taylor: Previously Board Member at Shopify and Twitter, CTO at Facebook, and CEO at SalesForce.
Larry Summers: Former Secretary of the United States Treasury, President at Harvard.
It is worth noting that Bret Taylor is one of the two names demanded by the OpenAI staff while threatening to quit. Hence, it is clear that the changes being made at the organization are a result of negotiations between all parties involved in the matter.
It looks like the situation has settled now, as the core team of OpenAI is back in their position. Altman’s firing created a chain of events that was not only hurting OpenAI but also impacting the entire AI technology market.