The OpenAI Coup Saga Seemingly Ends, With Sam Altman Returning as CEO

Nilay Patel and Alex Heath, reporting for The Verge:

Sam Altman will return as CEO of OpenAI, overcoming an attempted boardroom coup that sent the company into chaos over the past several days. Former president Greg Brockman, who quit in protest of Altman’s firing, will return as well.

The company said in a statement late Tuesday that it has an “agreement in principle” for Altman to return alongside a new board composed of Bret Taylor, Larry Summers, and Adam D’Angelo. D’Angelo is a holdover from the previous board that initially fired Altman on Friday. He remains on this new board to give the previous board some representation, we’re told.

People familiar with the negotiations say that the main job of this small initial board is to vet and appoint an expanded board of up to nine people that will reset the governance of OpenAI. Microsoft, which has committed to investing billions in the company, wants to have a seat on that expanded board, as does Altman himself.

The question I’ve focused on from the start of this soap opera is who really controls OpenAI? The board thought it was them. It wasn’t. Matt Levine had the funniest-because-it’s-true take in his Money Stuff column — I don’t want to spoil it, just go there and look at his “slightly annotated” version of OpenAI’s diagram of their corporate structure.

See also: The Wall Street Journal’s compelling story of the drama behind the scenes (News+ link).

Wednesday, 22 November 2023