Sam Altman officially returns to OpenAI as Microsoft finally joins board

Sam Altman, one of the founders of OpenAI, has officially returned to office as the firm’s CEO, ending a whirlwind few weeks caused by his abrupt and unexpected temporary departure. 

Addressing OpenAI employees in a company memo made public on Nov. 29, Altman confirmed that interim CEO Mira Murati will step down from her position and return to her previous role as chief technology officer.

Altman also revealed a new initial board, chaired by Salesforce CEO Bret Taylor, along with Larry Summers, who previously served as the United States Secretary of the Treasury, and Adam D’Angelo, the CEO of social question-and-answer website Quora. D’Angelo was on OpenAI’s board before the saga that unfolded in mid-November. Greg Brockman will also resume his role as OpenAI’s President.

“I have never been more excited about the future. I am extremely grateful for everyone’s hard work in an unclear and unprecedented situation, and I believe our resilience and spirit set us apart in the industry. I feel so, so good about our probability of success for achieving our mission,” said Altman to employees.

Microsoft elevated to OpenAI board

Altman revealed that Microsoft will also be included as a non-voting observer on the new board. 

“We clearly made the right choice to partner with Microsoft and I’m excited that our new board will include them as a non-voting observer,” he said. 

Microsoft initially wasn’t expected to be offered a seat by OpenAI, according to a Nov. 29 report by Reuters, which cited a person familiar with the matter.

Microsoft has invested $13 billion into the ChatGPT creator firm across several deals dating back to 2019.

Related: OpenAI halts new ChatGPT Plus sign-ups amid high demand

Looking ahead, Altman said he would be focused on advancing the firm’s research plan, improving its products and better serving customers as his three top priorities to focus on in his second stint as CEO.

In the same official announcement, Taylor stressed OpenAI will “enhance the governance structure,” and put together “an independent committee of the Board to oversee a review of the recent events,” in effort to provide more stability to the firm.

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