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Sam Altman returns to OpenAI as CEO ‘in principle’

Sam Altman is returning as CEO, OpenAI announced.

It is – perhaps (hopefully?) – the final chapter of a chaotic week that saw Altman ousted as CEO, two interim CEOs announced and nearly every OpenAI threaten to quit and go to Microsoft unless the entire board resigned.

The announcement. OpenAI announced the news via an X post on Tuesday night:

  • “We have reached an agreement in principle for Sam Altman to return to OpenAI as CEO with a new initial board of Bret Taylor (Chair), Larry Summers, and Adam D’Angelo. We are collaborating to figure out the details. Thank you so much for your patience through this.”

Why we care. Now that the drama is over, let’s solve these ChatGPT service interruptions. Some of us are trying to work.

Status quo ante. Despite all the drama, OpenAI seemingly is now returning back to the way things were before all the drama that unfolded started Friday, with the shocking news that Altman had been ousted as CEO and all the chaos that followed.

They’re back. OpenAI’s (former – and once again(?) president) Greg Brockman shared this image via X:

Microsoft’s reaction. Altman posted that this move had the support of Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella:

  • “i love openai, and everything i’ve done over the past few days has been in service of keeping this team and its mission together. when i decided to join msft on sun evening, it was clear that was the best path for me and the team. with the new board and w satya’s support, i’m looking forward to returning to openai, and building on our strong partnership with msft.”

Nadella reposted Altman’s message and added:

  • “We are encouraged by the changes to the OpenAI board. We believe this is a first essential step on a path to more stable, well-informed, and effective governance. Sam, Greg, and I have talked and agreed they have a key role to play along with the OAI leadership team in ensuring OAI continues to thrive and build on its mission. We look forward to building on our strong partnership and delivering the value of this next generation of AI to our customers and partners.”

Dig deeper. See Techmeme for all the coverage.

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About the author

Danny Goodwin

Danny Goodwin has been Managing Editor of Search Engine Land & Search Marketing Expo – SMX since 2022. He joined Search Engine Land in 2022 as Senior Editor. In addition to reporting on the latest search marketing news, he manages Search Engine Land’s SME (Subject Matter Expert) program. He also helps program U.S. SMX events.

Goodwin has been editing and writing about the latest developments and trends in search and digital marketing since 2007. He previously was Executive Editor of Search Engine Journal (from 2017 to 2022), managing editor of Momentology (from 2014-2016) and editor of Search Engine Watch (from 2007 to 2014). He has spoken at many major search conferences and virtual events, and has been sourced for his expertise by a wide range of publications and podcasts.


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