Sam Altman rejoins OpenAI board, following investigation

Sam Altman has returned to the OpenAI board, following a whirlwind series of events in November last year, where he was initially let go from the company, only to be reinstated within days.

According to a statement published on March 8, Altman has been brought back on to the OpenAI board of directors alongside three new members, including former CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann, former EVP and General Counsel at Sony Corporation Nicole Seligman, and chair of Instacart, Fidji Simo.

Just four months ago, Altman was ousted from the board and briefly dismissed from his role as the company’s chief executive officer.

In November 2023, Cointelegraph reported that the OpenAI board fired Altman for allegedly being “not consistently candid in his communications with the board.”

However, employees of the company were not happy with the decision, with 505 of the 700 employees signing a letter to the board demanding that they resign. 

In a separate statement on the same day, OpenAI announced that the law firm WilmerHale had interviewed several members of the board and scrutinized over 30,000 documents. 

It was noted that the previous board had not anticipated the extent to which the sudden decision to let Altman go would destabilize the company.

Bret Taylor, chair of the OpenAI board, confirmed that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman are still the preferred choices to lead the company.

“We have unanimously concluded that Sam and Greg are the right leaders for OpenAI.”

Meanwhile, on March 6, OpenAI released a series of emails between its board members and Elon Musk regarding Musk’s desire to transform the company into a “for-profit” entity.

Related: Experts say OpenAI in ‘precarious position,’ ‘might become next WeWork’

This follows a lawsuit against OpenAI filed by Musk on Feb. 29 over an alleged breach in the original agreement to make AI breakthroughs “freely available to the public” through a multibillion-dollar partnership with Microsoft.

Musk’s suit requested that OpenAI revert back to its principles as an open-source company while requesting an injunction to prevent the for-profit exploitation of artificial general intelligence (AGI) technology.

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