OpenAI’s board of directors is in discussions with Sam Altman to return to the CEO role, according to several people familiar with the matter. One of them said Altman, who was suddenly fired by the board of directors on Friday without notice, is “ambivalent” about his return and would like significant changes in governance.
Altman, in talks with the company just a day after his ouster, says OpenAI is in free fall without him. Hours after his firing, Greg Brockman, OpenAI’s president and former chairman of the board, resigned, and the two talked with friends about starting another company. A host of senior researchers also resigned Friday, and people close to OpenAI say more departures are in the works.
OpenAI’s largest investor, Microsoft, said in a statement shortly after Altman’s firing that the company “remains committed” to its partnership with the AI company. However, OpenAI investors were not given advance notice or an opportunity to weigh in on the board’s decision to remove Altman. As the face of the company and the most important voice in AI, his removal throws OpenAI’s future into uncertainty at a time when rivals are racing to catch up with ChatGPT’s unprecedented success.
The rest of the OpenAI Board of Directors is: Ilya Sutskever, Chief Scientist of OpenAI, Adam D’Angelo, CEO of Quora, Tasha McCauley, former CEO of GeoSim Systems, and Helen Toner, Chief Strategy Officer at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown. Unlike traditional companies, the board of directors is not tasked with maximizing shareholder value. Its stated mission is to ensure the creation of “widely beneficial” artificial general intelligence, or AGI.