Sam Altman and Greg Brockman to return to OpenAI just days after being fired

(Image credit: OpenAI)

Sam Altman is set to return to OpenAI as chief executive officer just days after the company's board of directors ousted him citing lack of confidence in his leadership. Satya Nadella, chief executive of Microsoft, who hired Sam Altman and Greg Brockman to lead artificial intelligence direction at Microsoft, welcomed the move and said that the two companies will continue to work close together. Brockman will also return to OpenAI.

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"I love OpenAI, and everything I have done over the past few days has been in service of keeping this team and its mission together," Altman wrote in an X post. "When I decided to join Microsoft on Sunday evening, it was clear that was the best path for me and the team. With the new board and with Satya's support, I am looking forward to returning to OpenAI, and building on our strong partnership with Microsoft."

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Over 700 employees at OpenAI threatened to resign in solidarity, demanding Altman's return and demonstrating their strong support for his leadership and vision.

In response to the turmoil, OpenAI announced the restructuring of its board of directors. New members include Bret Taylor, former co-CEO of Salesforce, and Larry Summers, a former U.S. Treasury Secretary, joining existing member Adam D'Angelo from Quora. This reshuffle seems like an effort to bring more stability to the company's governance.

Meanwhile, Sam Altman will return stronger than ever to the company.

 "While it's still unclear exactly what the tug-of-war prompting his initial departure involved, Sam Altman's views about how to run the company will dominate future direction, especially given he'll be supervised under a new board," Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, told Reuters.

Microsoft, a major investor in OpenAI, welcomed the move to reinstate Altman and Brockman, who the company hired to lead its AI projects. Satya Nadella backed the changes and said that the software giant would continue to use OpenAI's technology in its products. It is unclear what happens to Microsoft's newly formed AI division though.

"We are encouraged by the changes to the OpenAI board," Nadella wrote in an X post. "We believe this is a first essential step on a path to more stable, well-informed, and effective governance. Sam, Greg, and I have talked and agreed they have a key role to play along with the OpenAI leadership team in ensuring OpenAI continues to thrive and build on its mission. We look forward to building on our strong partnership and delivering the value of this next generation of AI to our customers and partners."

This series of events also saw Greg Brockman, the president of OpenAI who had resigned following Altman's initial ouster, announce his return to the company. 

"Returning to OpenAI and getting back to coding tonight," Brockman wrote in an X post.

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.