For much of the past year, OpenAI’s board has been criticized for being too small and too divided to effectively govern one of the fastest-growing startups in Silicon Valley history.

On Friday, the board’s dysfunction came to light when four of its members fired Sam Altman, the popular and powerful CEO of OpenAI. The firing set off a turbulent five days, as Altman rallied nearly all of the company’s 770 employees to push for the board’s resignation and reinstatement.

Altman, 38, returned to the company Tuesday night after days of haggling over his job and the makeup of the board.

The board and Altman’s allies discussed more than half a dozen options for his future. They considered a board of directors of three to seven members and discussed about 30 candidates, including Laurene Powell Jobs, Steve Jobs’ widow and founder of Emerson Collective, and Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb. The outgoing board wanted to ensure that the replacements were independent thinkers and experienced enough to take on Mr. Altman.

On Tuesday afternoon both sides agreed to create a three-person interim board. It is expected to expand in the coming months, two people close to the negotiations said, but the exact number was unclear. The new group will be responsible for analyzing the structure of OpenAI, the developer of the ChatGPT chatbot, which started as a nonprofit in 2015 but later added a for-profit subsidiary.

  • Adam D’Angelo: D’Angelo, an early Facebook executive and co-founder of the quiz site Quora, was one of the board members who ousted Altman. He was the board’s main leader in the negotiations and expected Altman to make concessions during the tense back-and-forth, two people familiar with the talks said.

  • Bret Taylor: Taylor, a fixture in Silicon Valley technical circles and a former Facebook and Salesforce executive, was seen during the negotiations as a neutral party, three people familiar with the discussions said. He is well regarded among the technorati and is often seen as something of a mediator in high-pressure situations. Last year, as Twitter’s board chairman, he was instrumental in negotiating the platform’s $44 billion sale to Elon Musk.

  • Lawrence H. Summers: Summers, one of the country’s most prominent economists, was a late addition to the list of potential board candidates and was instrumental in ending the impasse over how to proceed because he was believed to be someone who would take on Altman, two of them said. people familiar with the conversations. Summers served as Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration and was president of Harvard. He’s been talking about the Potential for artificial intelligence to displace workers., but its reputation has been damaged over the years. While running Harvard, she said that women might lack an intrinsic aptitude for mathematics and science.

Gender and diversity did not factor into board deliberations, two of the people said. At various points during the negotiations, there were permutations on the board that would have kept either Ms. Toner or Ms. McCauley involved.

One of the people involved in the negotiations said that the most important thing was to reach a resolution, and that achieving it had some limitations, among them that the group of candidates was mostly white and male. The interim board is expected to become more diverse as it expands in the coming months.