Sam Altman will return as CEO of OpenAI after the ChatGPT maker said it had “reached an agreement in principle” for his reinstatement on Wednesday (22 November).

The dramatic reversal by the San Francisco based artificial intelligence (AI) company comes after days of drama in the aftermath of Altman’s shock sacking on Friday (17 November).

An overhaul of the company’s board of directors was reportedly a key talking point in discussions of Altman’s return.

The new board will be led by Bret Taylor, former co-CEO of Salesforce, Larry Summers, former US treasury secretary, and Adam D’Angelo, a current board member who had a hand in the firing of Altman.

The board will reportedly not be final and will instead be working to select up to nine new directors, according to Bloomberg, citing someone familiar with the matter.  

In a post on X, OpenAI said: “We have reached an agreement in principle for Sam Altman to return to OpenAI as CEO.

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“We are collaborating to figure out the details. Thank you so much for your patience through this.”

Altman’s reinstatement marks a major victory for Microsoft which had been working with other investors to reverse the firing.

Altman has agreed to an internal investigation into the conduct that led to his firing, Bloomberg reported, citing another person. 

Following the CEO’s firing, OpenAI claimed Altman “was not consistently candid in his communications with the board”.

Details behind the alleged mismanagement have not been released and the true reason behind Altman’s ousting remains a mystery. 

Over the past few days, around 700 OpenAI employees have threatened to quit in response to the ousting, including an executive on the company’s four-person board.