Sam Altman Is Reinstated to OpenAI’s Board

Sam Altman is back—again. The entrepreneur who was suddenly fired as OpenAI CEO and from the ChatGPT developer’s board last November, before regaining his CEO position days later, is now getting his director seat back, too.

Altman and three veteran business executives, all women, were named to OpenAI’s board on Friday, OpenAI announced in a blog post. Sue Desmond-Hellmann, former CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Nicole Seligman, a former Sony executive; and Fidji Simo, the CEO of Instacart and former Meta executive are the others joining the board.

OpenAI has been looking to expand the board for months, after announcing an interim board following the November chaos. It was formed after a deal between some board members who had pushed Altman out but then agreed to step down when more than 95 percent of OpenAI employees threatened to quit if he wasn’t brought back.

The company’s governance has drawn public scrutiny because of its development of ChatGPT, Dall-E, and other services that have kicked off a boom in generative AI technologies over the past couple of years.

Altman had been suddenly fired by four members of the board of OpenAI’s nonprofit entity, which in an unusual structure in tech oversees a for-profit arm working on AI development. They expressed concerns about his communications with the board not being consistently candid as part of their justification for the move.

After a chaotic few days during which Microsoft said it would hire Altman and Brockman, OpenAI employees threatened to quit en masse, Altman was reinstated as CEO. Microsoft, which has backed OpenAI with $13 billion of investment and whose CEO, Satya Nadella, complained of being surprised by Altman’s ouster, was given a board seat as an observer.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.