Due to disagreements over the pace of developing and monetising artificial intelligence, OpenAI’s board fired CEO Sam Altman on November 17, 2023. Following his unexpected dismissal, almost all of OpenAI’s employees threatened to resign if he was not reinstated and the current board members did not resign. Altman himself had stated that if the board that had fired him was dissolved, he would consider returning. OpenAI, on the other hand, had appointed Emmett Shear as its new interim CEO. Meanwhile, Microsoft hired Altman to lead their in-house AI team. Many OpenAI employees were said to be considering joining him there.
The threat to resign appeared to have worked. OpenAI has now agreed to re-appoint Altman as CEO and new board members.
Altman has reportedly agreed to return to OpenAI as CEO, accompanied by a new board of directors comprised of Bret Taylor, Larry Summers, and Adam D’Angelo. OpenAI is currently finalising the terms of this agreement. Altman, for one, is said to be delighted by the development and to be looking forward to continuing his efforts to strengthen his relationship with Microsoft.
Satya Ndella, CEO of Microsoft, who had only recently welcomed Altman to his AI team, now sees Altman’s return to OpenAI as a critical step towards establishing a more stable and effective governance structure at OpenAI.
Altman rose to prominence with the launch of ChatGPT, which sparked increased AI research and development efforts as well as significant investments in the sector.