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OpenAI Reinstates Sam Altman as CEO 5 Days After Firing Him

Sam Altman has been reinstated as CEO of ChatGPT developer OpenAI just five days after his sudden dismissal from the organization. The move comes after more than 700 OpenAI employees threatened to quit if Altman wasn’t reinstated at the AI powerhouse.

CNBC reports that OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT, has announced the reinstatement of Sam Altman as CEO, a mere five days after his unexpected firing.

Sam Altman, who became the CEO of OpenAI in 2019, was abruptly fired from his position last week. However, the decision was rapidly overturned following immense pressure from employees and investors. Hundreds of OpenAI staff, including co-founder and board member Ilya Sutskever, vocally demanded the resignation of the remaining board members, threatening to leave if their demands were not met.

Sutskever’s involvement in the employee revolt is particularly interesting given his pivotal role in ousting Altman, which he claims he immediately “regretted.”

The situation took another turn when Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that Altman, along with others from OpenAI, would be joining Microsoft to start a new advanced AI research team. This move suggested a shift in Altman’s career trajectory, aligning him with one of the biggest tech giants globally. However, the recent reinstatement at OpenAI indicates a change in these plans.

OpenAI’s board is experiencing significant changes following Altman’s return. Former Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers have joined the board, with Taylor assuming the chair position. Helen Toner, Tasha McCauley, and Ilya Sutskever were removed from the board, each having played a role in Altman’s initial removal.

Little is still known about the underlying complexities and power dynamics within OpenAI, but the quick reappointment of Altman highlights the influence of internal and external stakeholders including prominent investors like Microsoft, Tiger Global, Thrive Capital, and Sequoia Capital, who reportedly worked behind the scenes to reverse the board’s decision.

The incident also reflects the broader context of OpenAI’s evolution. Initially structured as a part of a non-profit and not a typical Silicon Valley startup, OpenAI has grown into a significant player in AI research and development, especially following the launch of ChatGPT in late 2022. This growth trajectory, combined with Altman’s leadership, has placed OpenAI at the forefront of computing’s future.

 

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