Sam Altman was reinstated late Tuesday as OpenAI’s chief executive, successfully reversing his ouster by the company’s board last week after a campaign waged by his allies, employees and investors, the company said.
The board would be remade without several members who had opposed Mr. Altman.
“We have reached an agreement in principle for Sam to return to OpenAI as CEO with a new initial board of Bret Taylor (Chair), Larry Summers, and Adam D’Angelo,” OpenAI said in a post to X, formerly known as Twitter. “We are collaborating to figure out the details. Thank you so much for your patience through this.”
The return of Mr. Altman and the potential remaking of the board, capped a frenetic five days that upended OpenAI, the maker of the ChatGPT chatbot and one of the world’s highest-profile artificial intelligence companies.
“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,” Mr. Altman said in a post to X. “with the new board and w satya’s support, i’m looking forward to returning to openai, and building on our strong partnership with msft.”
OpenAI’s board surprised Mr. Altman and the company’s employees on Friday afternoon when it told him he was being pushed out. Greg Brockman, the company’s president who co-founded the company with Mr. Altman and others, resigned in protest.
The ouster kicked off efforts by Mr. Altman, 38, his allies in the tech industry and OpenAI’s employees to force the company’s board to bring him back. On Sunday evening, after a weekend of negotiations, the board said it was going to stick with its decision.
But in a head-spinning development just hours later, Microsoft, OpenAI’s largest investor, said that Mr. Altman, Mr. Brockman and others would be joining the company to start a new advanced artificial intelligence lab.
Nearly all of OpenAI’s more than 700 employees signed a letter telling the board they would walk out and follow Mr. Altman to Microsoft if he wasn’t reinstated, throwing the future of the start-up into jeopardy.
Four board members — Ilya Sutskever, an OpenAI founder; Adam D’Angelo, the chief executive of Quora; Helen Toner, a director of strategy at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology; and Tasha McCauley, an entrepreneur and computer scientist — had initially decided to push Mr. Altman out.
But as the employee revolt grew, Mr. Sutskever repented in a message on X: “I deeply regret my participation in the board’s actions.” He also signed the letter.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.