OpenAI’s Sam Altman cleared to return to board after probe

OpenAI, the renowned artificial intelligence company behind Chat GPT, has announced the clearance of its Chief Executive Officer, Sam Altman, of any wrongdoing, paving the way for his return to the company’s board following a monthslong investigation. The inquiry, conducted by law firm WilmerHale, concluded that Altman’s dismissal last year was a result of a breakdown in the relationship and loss of trust between him and the prior board, rather than concerns about product safety, development pace, or OpenAI’s finances.

In response to the findings, OpenAI has announced the appointment of three new directors, including Altman, Sue Desmond-Hellmann, Nicole Seligman, and Fidji Simo. The company also revealed the implementation of new governance rules and a strengthened conflict of interest policy, unanimously backed by the board.

The investigation’s findings highlighted that the prior board’s actions were intended to mitigate internal management challenges and did not anticipate destabilizing the company. Furthermore, OpenAI has stated the adoption of new corporate governance guidelines, the creation of a whistleblower hotline, and the reinforcement of its conflict-of-interest policy.

Altman, welcoming the new board members, expressed the importance of the work ahead.

“I am thrilled to announce our new board members: Fidji Simo, Sue Desmond-Hellmann, and Nicole Seligman, and to continue collaborating with Bret, Larry, and Adam,” Saltman stated in a post on X.

“I am grateful to everyone on our team for their resilience and unwavering focus during a challenging period. I especially want to express my gratitude to Mira for our strong partnership and her leadership during difficult times, as well as in all the quieter moments where it truly matters. I also want to acknowledge Greg, whose unique leadership role is indispensable to OpenAI’s existence. Being in the trenches is never easy, but having them by my side makes it much more bearable,” he added.

The lack of detail provided by the board at the time of Altman’s firing had fueled speculation about potential misconduct, which Altman and the company have denied. His reinstatement as CEO, following widespread employee discontent and resignations from the prior board, sparked discussions about OpenAI’s governance, ultimately leading to the announcement of a reconstituted board with Altman’s return.