Sam Altman Will not Return as OpenAI CEO After Talks Fail – Sam Altman is reportedly not resuming his role as CEO of OpenAI, as talks for his reinstatement have fallen through. Instead, Emmett Shear, co-founder of Twitch, has been appointed as OpenAI’s third CEO in three days, as per multiple reports. Altman’s potential return had been discussed earlier, and after his dismissal, Brockman resigned.
The duo had been considering launching a new company before Altman’s departure. Last Friday, several senior researchers left, and further departures from key figures are expected soon. Altman was fired on Friday following accusations of inconsistent communication with the board, causing ripples in Silicon Valley.
Meanwhile, OpenAI’s investors, spearheaded by Microsoft, initiated efforts to restore Altman, leading to weekend discussions and Altman sharing a photo wearing a guest pass at OpenAI’s offices. Despite efforts, the discussions proved unsuccessful, resulting in OpenAI’s board naming Shear as the interim CEO, displacing Mira Murati, who briefly held the position after Altman.
On Sunday, Altman had posted an image of himself on X wearing an OpenAI guest badge stating “first and last time I ever wear one of these.” According to a previous report by The Wall Street Journal, Altman’s potential return hinged on a revamped board and governance framework. Additionally, Altman was contemplating the possibility of establishing a new company alongside former colleagues from OpenAI.
Altman and former Apple design chief Jony Ive are reportedly in talks to develop a new AI hardware device, with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son also participating in the discussions. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is said to be mediating these discussions with Altman and the board. Altman’s recent dismissal has caused a stir in the tech industry and among OpenAI staff, as he was not only the face of the company but also representative of the broader AI sector.
There are indications that other employees may leave if Altman doesn’t return. A memo from Chief Strategy Officer Jason Kwon mentioned efforts to bring back Altman and other departed senior colleagues, including OpenAI’s president and three senior researchers. “We are still working towards a resolution and we remain optimistic,” Kwon wrote, according to the Information.
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“By resolution, we mean bringing back Sam, Greg, Jakub, Szymon, Aleksander and other colleagues (sorry if I missed you!) and remaining the place where people who want to work on AGI [artificial general intelligence] research, safety, products and policy can do their best work.” OpenAI operates under the governance of a non-profit parent and its board.
The board oversees a for-profit subsidiary, formerly led by Altman as CEO. Following the exits of Altman and President Brockman, who resigned in response to Altman’s dismissal, the current composition includes OpenAI’s chief scientist Ilya Sutskever and three individuals who are not employees of the organization.