OpenAI in ‘Intense Discussions’ to Prevent Staff Exodus if Sam Altman Isn’t Reinstated as CEO – OpenAI executives are said to be engaging in vigorous deliberations to avert a mass departure of staff after the unexpected removal of CEO Sam Altman, who has now taken on a role at Microsoft. This Monday, over 700 employees from the company responsible for ChatGPT’s development signed a letter, warning of their intention to resign unless the board reinstates Altman.
In response, OpenAI’s Vice President of Global Affairs, Anna Makanju, circulated an internal memo in an effort to inspire unity among the company’s staff, as reported by Bloomberg, which reviewed the message. Makanju assured that OpenAI’s management is in touch with Altman, Shear and the board, “but they are not prepared to give us a final response this evening,” she wrote, according to Bloomberg.
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The nature and scope of OpenAI’s talks with Altman, including the possibility of reinstating the 38-year-old AI expert, remain uncertain. During the weekend, OpenAI’s board appointed former Twitch leader Emmett Shear as the interim CEO of the creator of ChatGPT, concluding a tumultuous three days of executive changes at the AI firm. This period also witnessed Greg Brockman, Altman’s close associate and the company’s president, making a move to Microsoft.
Altman might not have an interest in reclaiming his former role, considering he has been presented with the opportunity to assume a comfortable CEO position, leading a new artificial intelligence research team at Microsoft, which happens to be OpenAI’s primary investor. In his new position, Altman will still be able to work with OpenAI, which is currently engaged in a $10 billion “multiyear” partnership with Microsoft.
“Satya and my top priority remains to ensure openai continues to thrive,” Altman posted to X on Monday. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has echoed the sentiment in his own posts: “We remain committed to our partnership with OpenAI,” he tweeted on Monday — the same day he gave his first interview since Altman’s ouster, which shook Silicon Valley.
Speaking to CNBC, Nadella left the door open for more OpenAIstaffers to nab a job at Microsoft. Nadella said it’s up to all employees whether they stay in their current roles or accept a new position at Microsoft. “I’m open to both options,” he told CNBC. No matter where staffers end up, “I think it’s very clear that something has to change around the governance,” Nadella told the outlet. He added that Microsoft would have “a good dialogue with their [OpenAI’s] board on that.”