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  • Writer's pictureSarah Ruivivar

OpenAI Directors Mull Over Altman's Board Reinstatement

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OpenAI's directors are in negotiations with Sam Altman, the former CEO, about his potential return to the board. This move follows the board's decision to dismiss Altman, which led to a tumultuous period for the generative artificial intelligence start-up.

Over 95% of OpenAI employees signed a letter demanding the board's resignation and Altman's reinstatement. Three remaining directors, however, maintain that Altman's dismissal was justified. This option to bring Altman back is one of several being discussed by the board, according to insiders.

The company's staff, led by executives Mira Murati, Brad Lightcap, and Jason Wong, have rallied behind the co-founders and demanded more detailed explanations for Altman's dismissal. As of Tuesday afternoon, no agreement about the company's future had been reached.

Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman's departures sparked a chaotic few days at OpenAI. The company has been in the limelight since the launch of its ChatGPT chatbot a year ago, which triggered a boom in generative AI.

Ilya Sutskever, another co-founder, was one of the four directors who voted to dismiss Altman. Under increasing pressure from colleagues, Sutskever signed the letter calling for a reversal of the board's decision and publicly apologised.

Three directors remain opposed to Altman's return: Adam D'Angelo, CEO of Quora; tech entrepreneur Tasha McCauley; and Helen Toner from the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University. These three have faced growing pressure from employees and investors to explain their decision and change course.

Investors, including Microsoft, are keen on governance changes to protect OpenAI from similar crises in the future. These changes, however, will not be discussed until there is clarity on Altman's future with the company.

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