Sam Altman
Sam Altman recently opned up about his decission to return to OpenAI as CEO. Wikimedia Commons

Sam Altman has finally opened up about his controversy-plagued return to OpenAI just days after the company's board ousted him as CEO.

In an interview with The Verge, Altman admitted he wasn't willing to make a comeback at OpenAI initially. However, he said the feeling was "not for long" though.

Understandably, Altman said he had to "get over the ego and emotions" before discussing the possibility of returning to the AI firm as CEO.

To those unaware, OpenAI's board fired him on November 17. Notably, the board attributed Altman's dismissal to a lack of confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.

However, an earlier report suggests the move was part of the board's attempt to stop Altman from releasing a human-threatening AI model called Q*. Surprisingly, he was discussing the possibility of being reinstated just a day after being fired.

"Saturday morning, some of the board called me and asked if I'd be up for talking about it. And my immediate reaction was sort of one of defiance, it was like, 'Man, I'm hurt and angry, and I think this sucks'," Altman told The Verge.

Sam Altman returns to lead OpenAI as CEO

Altman said it took him a few minutes to snap out of it and realise that he has given OpenAI a lot of his "life force" over the past four-and-a-half years. Moreover, he believes in the company's mission.

"Yeah, of course I want to do that," he said. Taking to X (formerly Twitter) the following day, Altman shared a photo with an OpenAI guest badge at what looks like the company's office. On November 22, OpenAI announced that they had "reached an agreement in principle" for Altman's return.

Several OpenAI employees were ready to resign unless the board reinstated Altman. This played a vital role in his return as CEO. Moreover, the company's board member Ilya Sutskever expressed regret for Altman's dismissal and said he was willing to do everything to reunite the company.

Still, Altman announced in a blog post on OpenAI's official website that Sutskever will not get his board seat back. "I love and respect Ilya, I think he's a guiding light of the field and a gem of a human being. I harbor zero ill will towards him," Altman wrote.

"While Ilya will no longer serve on the board, we hope to continue our working relationship and are discussing how he can continue his work at OpenAI," he added.

During the interview, Altman also noted that OpenAI did not lose a single employee despite this fiasco. He heaped praise on the staff for keeping the "products up even in the face of very difficult-to-manage growth". The top executive went on to point out that the employees shipped new features and the research progress continued during his absence.