Sam Altman is CEO of OpenAI again

It looks like Sam Altman is going to end a whirlwind five days at the same place he started it: as CEO of OpenAI.

What happened: After reopening negotiations amid intense pressure from investors and staff, OpenAI’s board stepped down and paved the way for Altman to be reinstated.

  • Former Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor will chair the new board, which also includes Larry Summers, the former U.S. Treasury Secretary, and existing member Adam D’Angelo, the co-founder and CEO of Quora.
  • Altman has also agreed to an internal investigation over the conduct that led to his initial firing.
  • OpenAI co-founder and president Greg Brockman, who had quit after Altman’s firing, said he will also be returning.

Catch-up: Where to begin? Altman was fired on Friday, with OpenAI’s board saying he “was not consistently candid in his communications.” Following backlash, the board tried to bring Altman back, but initially couldn’t get past his insistence that they resign.

  • Instead, the company hired former Twitch CEO Emmett Shear as his replacement.
  • Meanwhile, Microsoft, OpenAI’s biggest business partner, announced they’d hire Altman — but CEO Satya Nadella said if Altman wanted to go back to OpenAI, that was cool too.

Why it matters: This could (begin to) restore a sense of normalcy to OpenAI and allow it to continue on its path as one of the dominant players in the AI boom.

  • It’s also a win for Microsoft. Even with Altman as an employee, the time it would take his team to get off the ground and the potential complications of hiring away most of OpenAI's staff may have given the likes of Google an opening to get ahead in the AI market.

What’s next: Oh, you thought this was the end of it? A source told Bloomberg that the board’s first task is to add up to nine new directors, and Microsoft will likely push for a spot to protect its AI investment and prevent future blindsides.