Despite investors’ efforts to reinstate Sam Altman as OpenAI’s CEO, he will not return to the company, reports The Information. Influential investors, including Thrive Capital and Sequoia Capital, pressured the board of directors to bring Altman back after his abrupt departure, which had a significant impact on the tech world. They also reportedly asked Microsoft, OpenAI’s largest investor, to use its influence to reinstate Altman.
Later on Sunday, Bloomberg reported that acting CEO Mira Murati was considering rehiring Altman and Greg Brockman, former president and chairman of OpenAI, to unspecified positions. However, this never happened.
After heated negotiations over the weekend, OpenAI’s nonprofit board has decided to appoint Emmett Shear, former CEO and co-founder of Twitch, as interim CEO. This decision comes after a short stint as CEO by Mira Murati, who publicly supported Altman. This quick change marks the appointment of the third CEO in just three days.
The decision was made despite pressure from investors and the threat of mass layoffs. Altman’s supporters in the company gave the board a deadline to resign and reinstate him along with Greg Brockman, but this deadline has passed without a decision, so we can most likely expect a wave of layoffs from OpenAI.
The choice of Shear as CEO is a rather surprising decision, given that he is not a widely recognized expert in the field of AI. Shear left Twitch, which was acquired by Amazon for $1 billion in 2014, just before a significant wave of layoffs and had no direct connection to the AI industry.
Sam Altman, Greg Brockman, and an unnamed number of OpenAI employees will move to Microsoft, according to the company’s CEO Satya Nadella.
“We remain committed to our partnership with OpenAI and have confidence in our product roadmap, our ability to continue to innovate with everything we announced at Microsoft Ignite, and in continuing to support our customers and partners. We look forward to getting to know Emmett Shear and OAI’s new leadership team and working with them. And we’re extremely excited to share the news that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, together with colleagues, will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team. We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success,” Nadella wrote.