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Business News/ Companies / News/  OpenAI Saga: Investors pressuring board to reinstate CEO Sam Altman
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OpenAI Saga: Investors pressuring board to reinstate CEO Sam Altman

Some investors, including Thrive Global, are also reportedly engaging in discussions with OpenAI’s largest shareholder Microsoft Corporation; and there is a possibility of Sam Altman returning to the company, one source said.

OpenAI’s firing of Sam Altman followed wide-ranging disagreements. (Getty Images via AFP)Premium
OpenAI’s firing of Sam Altman followed wide-ranging disagreements. (Getty Images via AFP)

Investors of artificial intelligence company OpenAI are urging the board to reverse its decision to dismiss Sam Altman as CEO and remove him as a director, sources told Bloomberg. The investors and Altman were both blindsided by the removal, the report added.

Some investors, including Thrive Global, are also reportedly engaging in discussions with OpenAI’s largest shareholder Microsoft Corporation, as per sources the report added.

Decision to be reversed?

A report by The Verge citing sources suggests the board had initially consented to resign and permit Altman and Brockman's return, but this agreement seems to have faltered. 

The board missed a crucial 5 PM PT deadline, leading to the potential resignation of numerous OpenAI employees. Should Altman opt to depart and establish a new venture, it is anticipated that these employees would likely follow suit, the Verge report added.

In case of a reversal in the decision, there is a possibility of Altman returning to the company, one source also told Bloomberg. A potential scenario being contemplated involves the current OpenAI board members stepping down imminently, although no definitive decisions have been reached, multiple sources added.

Also Read: ‘Sam and I are shocked by what board did today’, says ex-OpenAI President Greg Brockman

Reactions and support for Altman

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has communicated with Altman, assuring him of support in his future endeavors. Sources familiar with the situation disclosed that Nadella was caught off guard by the board’s decision.

OpenAI, Microsoft, and Thrive Global did not respond to queries, the report added.

The OpenAI board has faced significant backlash following the abrupt removal of Altman, surprising both investors and Altman himself. Notably, several individuals, including co-founder Greg Brockman, have left the company in protest. Sources suggest further resignations might follow suit, the report added.

Also Read: Who is on the OpenAI Board that fired Sam Altman? Take a look

If Altman does make a return, there’s speculation that he might seek alterations in the company's governance. Conversely, in the event of his non-return, Altman has been contemplating the launch of a new venture, potentially involving former OpenAI staff, Bloomberg's sources added.

Abrupt change of hands

Mira Murati, who previously worked behind the scenes at ChatGPT-maker OpenAI as chief technology officer (CTO), has been appointed as the company's interim CEO with immediate effect as the company seeks a permanent replacement.

Murati's appointment comes after OpenAI in a recent statement announced the departure of co-founder and CEO, Sam Altman.

Also Read: What OpenAI's new CEO Mira Murati thinks about AI, ChatGPT & more

The company said an internal review highlighted Altman's lack of consistent transparency in communications with the board of directors. Consequently, the board lost confidence in his ability to lead OpenAI effectively.

Following the announcement, Altman expressed gratitude for his time at OpenAI, acknowledging its transformative impact on both himself and potentially the world. He hinted at more information about his future plans to come.

“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.

Also Read: ‘Sam Altman is a hero…’: Eric Schmidt, Brian Chesky, other leaders praise Altman's contribution to AI

Meanwhile, co-founder and President, Greg Brockman, also announced his departure from the company. Brockman, in a message on X, expressed pride in the accomplishments achieved.

"I’m super proud of what we’ve all built together since starting in my apartment 8 years ago. We’ve been through tough & great times together, accomplishing so much despite all the reasons it should have been impossible. But based on today’s news, I quit." he wrote.

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Published: 19 Nov 2023, 07:29 AM IST
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