United States, November 22, 2023: Sam Altman, co-founder and longtime CEO of OpenAI, was abruptly ousted from the company last Friday. In a blog post, the board stated that his termination followed “a deliberative review process by the board, which concluded that he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities.”
Following his departure from OpenAI, Altman expressed gratitude for his time at the company, acknowledging its transformative impact. “i loved my time at openai. it was transformative for me personally, and hopefully the world a little bit. most of all i loved working with such talented people. will have more to say about what’s next later ”, Altman wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
Amidst a huge turmoil in the AI technology world, just a few days later, Microsoft hired Altman and former OpenAI president Greg Brockman, who quit OpenAI in solidarity with Altman. This move came as a big shock to many, considering Microsoft is OpenAI’s largest investor. They quickly announced that they had hired Altman and Greg Brockman to lead their new AI research team.
Microsoft CEO Nandella assured Altman of his support in his future endeavors. Altman also tweeted on X, “i love openai, and everything i’ve done over the past few days has been in service of keeping this team and its mission together. when i decided to join msft on sun evening, it was clear that was the best path for me and the team. with the new board and w satya’s support, i’m looking forward to returning to openai, and building on our strong partnership with msft.”
Nearly all of OpenAI’s roughly 500+ employees, including CTO Mira Murati and COO Brad Lightcap, signed a letter to OpenAI’s board threatening to quit unless all current board members resigned and reappointed ex-CEO Sam Altman. They stated that they would follow Altman to Microsoft’s team. “Microsoft has assured us that there are positions for all OpenAI employees at this new subsidiary should we choose to join,” the letter read.
Nadella told Bloomberg TV in an interview Monday that they would “work through the governance aspects” of Altman’s outside ventures but said he thought Altman would’ve only accepted the job at Microsoft if he “wants to spend his full time” there.
In a series of posts, Altman sought to reassure the world that, despite all the drama lately, everyone is still aligned. Altman said he’s optimistic that OpenAI and Microsoft can continue to thrive under this new arrangement and provide continuity for their customers. “We have more unity, commitment, and focus than ever before," he said. “One team, one mission."
After a series of chaotic events, OpenAI announced on Wednesday that it has reached an agreement for Sam Altman to return as CEO with a reshuffled board consisting of Bret Taylor, Larry Summers, and Adam D’Angelo.
Altman expressed enthusiasm about rejoining OpenAI, stating simply in a post on X that he’s “looking forward to returning to OpenAI.” While details remain scarce at the moment regarding what new strategy or structure Altman might pursue upon his return, OpenAI commented that its leadership team is “collaborating” to hash out the specifics.
Edited by: Sri Soudamini Konka
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