Real-time drama from OpenAI as they announce Sam Altman's return

"We have reached an agreement in principle for Sam Altman to return," says OpenAI in a tweet. How long will this news of Sam's return hold for, seeing that OAI has circled through three CEOs in two days? Also, Elon Musk is having a troll fest.

Real-time drama from OpenAI as they announce Sam Altman's return
Sam Altman, Co-founder of OpenAI

This morning by 6:01 AM (GMT), OpenAI announced on Twitter that expunged CEO and co-founder, Sam Altman will return to the company as CEO. "We have reached an agreement in principle for Sam Altman to return...We are collaborating to figure out the details," they said.

However, one thing is sure, only Adam D’Angelo will retain his board seat. The others, Ilya Sutskever, Helen Toner, and Tasha McCauley who were involved in the Altman coup have been replaced by an interim board consisting of Bret Taylor, and Larry Summers. We expect that Microsoft and Sam will have a seat on the new board.

Sam's reinstatement as CEO will be seen as a win for the majority of OpenAI's employees who threatened to leave unless he's reappointed and the former board resigns. Likewise, a win for Microsoft, which reportedly owns 49% of OpenAI through a $13 billion investment in the artificial intelligence startup.

The main characters involved in this drama have confirmed the news.

Sam says, "with the new board and w satya’s support, i’m looking forward to returning to openai".

Former President of OpenAI, Greg Brockman—who quit in solidarity with his business partner Sam, cannot wait to get back into coding at OpenAI and had earlier promoted the release of a new ChatGPT feature, ChatGPT Voice.

Indeed, Mr Nadella–under whose leadership, Microsoft invested $13 billion in OpenAI, is in support. This will be a much-preferred outcome for him as he further secures the long-term future of OpenAI. With Sam back at the startup, he doesn't need that damage control move of creating a new team to retain OpenAI's human assets, under Sam's leadership. Thus, avoiding potential legal tussles for hiring OpenAI employees.

Recall, that two days ago, we reported in our newsletter that Emmett Shear is now the CEO of OpenAI. However, that has now become stale, as OpenAI affords the rest of the world real-time drama updates via the app of a co-founder and former OpenAI board member, Elon Musk who didn't have a glorious exit in 2018.

Upon Shear's assumption of office, he demanded a reason why Sam Altman was fired without which he would resign. Alongside The Verge, we believe that the inability to provide documentary evidence for Sam's ousting is what led to the restart of negotiations to bring him in.

Yesterday, Elon Musk shared an unsigned letter containing unauthenticated accusations against Sam and Greg. "These seem like concerns worth investigating," he wrote on X.

It's not clear what feud might have occurred between Elon and Sam, but the former has taken a prime position in his fight with OpenAI by launching a direct rival, xAI to compete with ChatGPT.

Elon aside, the question now is; "When can we confidently say that Sam is back at OpenAI as CEO?". Then, "Will Microsoft and Sam have a board seat?" and finally, "When do we get an exposé on what truly transpired in the OpenAI boardroom, that led to the ousting of its CEO Sam Altman?"

Stay tuned as we bring you updates on this developing story.

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