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Sam Altman returns as OpenAI CEO five days after he was fired

OpenAI will also have a new 9-member board with Microsoft set to have a seat on the board.

Sam Altman returns as OpenAI CEO and Greg Brockman returns as President of the company, five days after Altman was unceremoniously fired by the board. It has been a roller-coaster of a few days for the two, as well as for OpenAI and Microsoft. Here’s a condensed summary of what transpired:

  • November 17: The OpenAI Board unexpectedly fired Sam Altman and removed Brockman as Chair of the board. Brockman quit as President in solidarity with Altman. OpenAI appointed CTO Mira Murati as interim CEO. Everyone was caught off-guard including Microsoft, one of the largest investors in OpenAI.
  • November 18: The Verge reported that the OpenAI board was in talks to bring back Altman with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella mediating. OpenAI employees showed public support for Altman on X.
  • November 19: Late in the day, Nadella announced that Altman and Brockman will join Microsoft and head the new AI research team. OpenAI appointed former Twitch CEO and co-founder Emmett Shear to serve as interim CEO.
  • November 20: A relatively calm day on the public front, but looked like discussions for Altman’s return continued.
  • November 21: OpenAI announces that Altman and Brockman are returning to the company and the appointment of a new board seems to be underway.

A new board: One of the sticky points for Altman’s return was that the OpenAI Board should resign. It looks like Altman has gotten his way with OpenAI announcing a new board consisting of Bret Taylor (Chair), Larry Summers, and Adam D’Angelo. Although D’Angelo was part of the previous board that fired Altman, reports suggest that he is likely to depart soon as this is just an interim board tasked with finding a new board of 9 members. Microsoft is expected to have a seat on the new board.

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