Microsoft gets seat on OpenAI board with Sam Altman back as chief executive

Microsoft has been given a non-voting observer seat on OpenAI’s board, following the official return of Sam Altman as the ChatGPT company’s chief.

OpenAI reached a deal to have Mr Altman back as the company’s chief executive, just days after it abruptly fired him.

Mr Altman said he was looking forward to returning to OpenAI with the support of Microsoft chief Satya Nadella.

“Sam Altman is back as CEO, Mira Murati as CTO and Greg Brockman as President. OpenAI has a new initial board,” OpenAI posted on Thursday on X.

“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,” Mr Altman said in a memo to employees.

The addition of Microsoft, which has heavily invested in OpenAI, to its board as a non-voting observer means the software giant will get more access to view the company’s progress.

It will, however, not have an official vote on its decisions.

Mr Altman’s return also resolves some of the uncertainties around the non-profit company and its leadership.

“The best interests of the company and the mission always come first. It is clear that there were real misunderstandings between me and members of the board,” the returning chief said in his memo.

“For my part, it is incredibly important to learn from this experience and apply those learnings as we move forward as a company,” he said.

“I welcome the board’s independent review of all recent events.”

With three of the board members who ousted Mr Altman now gone, the company said its new board will consist of former Salesforce co-chief Bret Taylor, who will be OpenAI chairman, former treasury secretary Larry Summers and Quora boss Adam D’Angelo.

OpenAI co-founder Ilya Sutskever, who voted to remove Mr Altman and later changed position to push for his return, will also exit the board, the company said.

Greg Brockman, who quit the company amid the chaos last week, is returning to his previous role as the company’s president, OpenAI said.

“Our research roadmap is clear; this was a wonderfully focusing time. I share the excitement you all feel; we will turn this crisis into an opportunity,” Mr Altman told employees.