Artificial intelligence firm OpenAI announced Wednesday that Sam Altman has been formally reinstated as CEO and that a new initial board of directors has been appointed, with Microsoft, the largest investor and the one that almost took Altman into its ranks, joining as an observer without voting rights.
The announcement comes two weeks after the abrupt dismissal of Altman, the company's CEO and one of the founders of the artificial intelligence startup. His dismissal led to a significant power struggle between the board, Microsoft itself, board members and even about 500 of the company's employees, who announced that they would resign if Altman was not reinstated.
Altman at his meeting with President Herzog. The face of the AI revolution // Photo: Avi Kanner, Recorder: Ori Buzaglo
OpenAI also said Mira Morati, who was chief technology officer until Altman's ouster and was chosen to replace him temporarily after he was fired, will return to her previous role. It was also reported that Greg Brockman, Altman's co-founder of the company, would return as president after leaving in protest of Altman's dismissal.
Microsoft, the biggest investor in the developer of the popular ChatGPT tool, was not previously part of the board of directors and will now join as an observer without voting rights. The new board members include Bret Taylor, the former co-CEO of Salesforce, who will be chairman, Larry Summers, the former U.S. Treasury secretary, and Adam D'Angelo, CEO of Quora. One of the main tasks of directors will be to build a more permanent and stable management council.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, at the company's developer conference. Big plans for OpenAI, photo: AP
"Strive for a competent and diverse board of directors"
In an interview on Wednesday, Altman said the new board would be elected "pretty quickly." He did not specify how many people would eventually be part of the management group, but said it would be "significantly increased" from the current number. When asked if he would rejoin the board, Altman said it was "not a top priority" for him at this time.
"I've never been more excited about the future," Altman wrote in his post. He added that he was "grateful for everyone's hard work in such an uncertain and unprecedented situation."
The new board chairman, Bret Taylor, said the new board members will strive to create a "competent and diverse board." Taylor added that the company will "improve OpenAI's management and control structure." The startup was widely criticized for its management structure, which allowed a nonprofit board to oust the company's CEO without consulting its biggest investors.
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