OpenAI's CEO Deja vu

Emre Çitak
Nov 22, 2023
Updated • Nov 22, 2023

OpenAI has announced the return of Sam Altman as its Chief Executive Officer. This revelation comes on the heels of Altman's abrupt dismissal from the AI startup just a week ago, a move that sparked intense discussions and debates within the tech community.

The roller-coaster of the past five days has culminated in an "agreement in principle" for Altman's return, signaling not only a change in leadership but also a restructuring of OpenAI's board.

OpenAI has announced its decision on Twitter/X with the following words:

Shake-up time for OpenAI

OpenAI, often touted as the most valuable U.S. startup, is not only reshuffling its leadership but also reforming its board. Former Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers, and Quora founder Adam D'Angelo are set to join the revamped board.

With Taylor as the board chair, the new members bring diverse expertise to the table. This strategic reshaping of the board reflects OpenAI's commitment to stability and effective governance, following the tumultuous events of the past week.

Wait, what happened to the Microsoft deal?

Microsoft, a key investor in OpenAI with a substantial ownership stake, was taken aback by Altman's dismissal. In response, the tech giant swiftly hired Altman to lead a new AI group within Microsoft. The departure of OpenAI's former President, Greg Brockman, and other members in protest prompted a swift return to the startup.

Microsoft Chief Satya Nadella expressed disappointment in the previous board's decision and pledged ongoing support. As Altman rejoins OpenAI, Nadella sees the changes in the board as a positive step towards stable governance and renewed collaboration.

Emmett didn't last long

OpenAI board's new CEO appointment process has been quite "interesting". First of all, OpenAI appointed current employees Chief technology officer Mira Murati as interim CEO, and a few hours later Emmett Shear was offered interim CEO.

While it was debated whether Emmett Shear, former CEO of live streaming platform, could lead an AI company, a few hours later OpenAI employees started protesting on Twitter/X saying "OpenAI is nothing without its people".

In his 72-hour tenure as interim CEO, Emmett Shear spearheaded the release of the ChatGPT with voice update for OpenAI's popular chatbot and quickly led development within the company.

After Sam Altman's return was announced, Emmett Shear bid farewell to the company on Twitter/X with these words:

One goal, one team

As Altman prepares to resume his role at OpenAI, he emphasizes his love for the organization and a commitment to its mission. The newly formed board, with the support of Satya Nadella, signals a collective effort to ensure OpenAI continues to thrive and deliver the next generation of AI advancements.

This unexpected journey, marked by debates, resignations, and a swift reversal, underscores the resilience of the OpenAI team. Investors, including Joshua Kushner of Thrive Capital, express confidence in Altman and Brockman's ability to lead OpenAI into a new era, solidifying the company's position as a significant player in the history of computing.

We thank OpenAI for what it has contributed and will contribute to the world of technology and wish the successful artificial intelligence company the best of luck in the future.


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