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Sam Altman Is Set To Rejoin OpenAI’s Board Alongside Three New Directors

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OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is set to rejoin the company’s board alongside three new directors, according to an announcement from the leading artificial intelligence firm on Friday.

Following an investigation by law firm WilmerHale into the circumstances surrounding Altman’s dismissal in November, the company has implemented new governance protocols and bolstered its conflict of interest policy. The board unanimously reaffirmed its support for Altman’s leadership.

The decision to reinstate Altman was met with surprise by employees, investors, and Microsoft, OpenAI’s primary financial supporter, who had expressed shock over his abrupt removal, which was quickly reversed.

Joining the board alongside Altman are Sue Desmond-Hellmann, former CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Nicole Seligman, former president of Sony Entertainment, and Fidji Simo, CEO of Instacart.

Altman expressed his appreciation for the new board members and acknowledged the significant tasks ahead in a post on X, stating, “We have important work in front of us.”

These new appointees will join existing board members Adam D’Angelo, CEO of Quora, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, and Chairman Bret Taylor, former co-CEO of Salesforce.

WilmerHale’s investigation concluded that Altman’s dismissal was not related to financial concerns or product safety but stemmed from a breakdown in trust between Altman and the prior board. While the board acted within its authority to terminate Altman, his conduct did not warrant removal.

OpenAI also announced the adoption of new corporate governance guidelines and the establishment of a whistleblower hotline, as well as a reinforcement of its conflict-of-interest policy, though specific details were not provided.

Altman’s reinstatement sparked discussions about the company’s governance structure, resulting in the announcement of a reconstituted board led by Taylor, which initially excluded Altman.

Reporting by Shivansh Tiwary in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Angela Christy; Editing by Shweta Agarwal, Krishna Chandra Eluri, Bill Berkrot, Diane Craft, and William Mallard.