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OpenAI faces turmoil after CEO shakeup

Eric Elliot

Home » Technology » OpenAI faces turmoil after CEO shakeup
openai ceo fired

OpenAI’s board of directors, including chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, abruptly fired co-founder and CEO Sam Altman on Friday. This shocking move caused major upheaval inside the AI startup behind the viral ChatGPT chatbot.

Ilya Sutskever (to the right) and Sam Altman (to the left)

Employees Revolt, Threaten Mass Resignations

In response to Altman’s firing, almost 700 OpenAI employees signed a letter on Monday demanding:

  • The resignation of the entire board of directors
  • Reinstatement of Altman as CEO
  • Reinstatement of former President Greg Brockman

The letter stated that if these demands were not met, employees would quit en masse. This letter was even signed by Sutskever despite his involvement in firing Altman.

This outcry reflects Altman’s standing amongst staff and the surprise at his sudden ejection. Employees are willing to leave without their leadership restored.

Reasons For Firing Remain Unclear

Interim CEO Emmett Shear, the former CEO of Twitch, dismissed speculation the firing was related to conflicts over AI safety or pace of development.

Shear stated it was due to a “breakdown of communications” but committed to launching an investigation into Altman’s departure.

There are rumors of growing tensions between factions with different priorities – some staff want to progress carefully with robust AI safety guardrails, while others want to quickly productize models.

So the exact events precipitating Altman’s exit remain ambiguous for now. The whole situation has broken the internet with memes:

Efforts Underway to Retain Talent, Continue OpenAI Mission

Following the turmoil, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced efforts to keep OpenAI staff within Microsoft:

  • Altman and some other researchers are forming a new group inside Microsoft
  • Nadella said all OpenAI staff can stay or join them

Additionally, Shear reaffirmed commitments to releasing more AI models.

These moves aim to maintain stability and prevent talent loss after this leadership crisis. But questions persist whether OpenAI can still thrive long-term without its ousted founder guiding strategy.

So in summary, OpenAI is facing internal upheaval, uncertain future direction, and staff retention challenges due to the board’s firing of Altman as CEO without clear explanation. They must investigate the decision and reassure staff to manage this turmoil.