The end of a tumultuous weekend at OpenAI ended with investors — and a contingent of employees — trying to convince the company’s board to rehire former Y Combinator president Sam Altman. After firing him on Friday, Altman will not return as CEO, according to a report of The Information.
Citing an internal memo sent by Ilya Sutskever, board director and one of OpenAI’s co-founders, Altman decided to walk away from the negotiations – at least for now. As the search continues for a new permanent CEO, OpenAI has appointed Emmett Shear, the co-founder of video streaming site Twitch, as interim CEO – replacing Mira Murati, who held the position for just two years. day.
It’s supposed to be Murati strongly advocates for Altman and is planning a way to hire him in some capacity even as the board examines potential new CEOs, who may be involved in his replacement. We’ve reached out to OpenAI for comment and will update this piece when we hear back.
This latest development threatens to worsen an already precarious situation for OpenAI, whose board is facing pressure from all sides to change course after firing Altman with little input from some of the biggest stakeholders.
The board’s decision Friday night to fire Altman — and demote OpenAI president and co-founder Greg Brockman, who has since resigned, from his position as board chairman — reportedly angered Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, is a major supporter of OpenAI and partner. (Nadella is said to have played a key role in mediating between the board and Altman and pledged to support Altman regardless of the outcome.) OpenAI investors — at SPECIFIC Tigre Global, Sequoia Capital and Thrive Capital – recruiting Microsoft’s help pressure the board to reinstate Altman and Brockman while considering a lawsuit against the board members.
Meanwhile, OpenAI top brass aligned with Altman called it out. Three senior OpenAI researchers left after Brockman, including research director Jakub Pachocki and head of preparation Aleksander Madry.
So what started all the fuss? In other words, a clash of philosophies.
Sutskever said at an all-hands meeting of the company on Friday that he felt Altman’s dismissal was “necessary” to protect OpenAI’s mission of “making AI useful to humanity,” suggesting that commercial ambitions Altman’s for the company began to trouble the kings of the board. Reports over the weekend proved as much; Sutskever WHAT who was “infuriated” by several announcements at OpenAI’s first annual developer conference, DevDay, such as custom GPTs that OpenAI said could one day run autonomously.
Altman reportedly demanded “significant” changes to OpenAI’s management — and a new board of directors — as a condition of the return; The Wall Street Journal reports Altman told colleagues it was “ridiculous” that major shareholders had no say in OpenAI’s management. Bret Taylor, the co-CEO of Salesforce, is among those considered for the new board, allegedly, along with a member aligned with Microsoft.