Microsoft shares inch higher premarket after OpenAI says Altman to return as CEO

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Microsoft shares inch higher premarket after OpenAI says Altman to return as CEO
Credit: © Reuters. -- Shares in Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) ticked higher in premarket U.S. trading on Wednesday after OpenAI, the generative artificial intelligence start-up which the tech giant has heavily invested in, announced that formerly ousted boss Sam Altman is set to return to the role.

The stunning reversal marked the latest twist in a dramatic, days-long boardroom battle that has sparked concerns over the future of the maker of megapopular AI chatbot ChatGPT.

In a post on social media platform X, OpenAI announced that Altman, considered by many to be one of the leading figures in the global debate over the usage of AI, would be brought back. Co-founder Greg Brockman, who quit after Altman's dismissal last Friday, will also return.

According to an "agreement in principle," OpenAI said Altman will be under the supervision of a new board of directors that will include former Salesforce (NYSE: CRM ) co-CEO Bret Taylor and ex-Treasury Secretary Larry Summers. Adam D'Angelo, an existing board member and head of question-and-answer service Quora, will also remain.

Prior to Altman's reinstatement, the prior four-person board of directors had faced heavy backlash from both staffers and investors. Reports say that a majority of employees signed a letter threatening to follow Altman to Microsoft if he was not brought back, while some investors weighed legal measures against the board.  

Altman said that, with the backing of the revamped board, he looked forward to returning to OpenAI and building on "our strong partnership with Microsoft." The Redmond, Washington-based tech group owns a large minority stake in OpenAI.

"For Microsoft this all ends up like a Cinderella ending as OpenAI will be stronger from an innovation and governance perspective and the [...] relationship will be even firmer as [Microsoft and Chief Executive Satya] Nadella [were] the bedrock in backing Altman and OpenAI," analysts at Wedbush said in a note to clients. "The Street is glad this is now over."

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