After removing Sam Altman as CEO of OpenAI, the company’s board has appointed former CEO of Twitch, Emmett Shear, as the interim CEO of the ChatGPT parent company, just hours after negotiations to reinstate Sam Altman to his former position failed.
Shear’s appointment marks the third CEO change at OpenAI within one weekend. The upheaval began on Friday when Sam Altman was abruptly removed as CEO by the board, citing concerns about his communication practices. Standing in solidarity with Altman, President, and co-founder of OpenAI, Greg Brockman, also resigned alongside other senior researchers at the company.
Chief Technology Officer, Mira Murati, initially appointed acting CEO, also aligned herself with Altman publicly. Murati had plans to rehire Altman and Brockman in new capacities if negotiations failed.
OpenAI’s major investors including Microsoft and Thrive Capital, blindsided by Altman’s firing, also began urging the board by Sunday to reconsider and reinstate Altman and Brockman, leading to negotiations between the board and Altman.
The negotiations, however, failed when the board rejected Altman demanded the board’s resignation in exchange for his return, leading to Emmett Shear’s appointment as OpenAI’s new CEO.
In light of this, Microsoft, which has invested over $13 billion in OpenAI, has hired Altman and Brockman to lead the company’s newly-established AI research team. Altman was appointed as the “CEO” of the team, securing Microsoft’s interests in the rapidly evolving AI landscape.
OpenAI Employees Demand the Board’s Resignation and Altman’s Return
Meanwhile, discontent has spread among OpenAI employees, with approximately 505 out of 700 signing a letter demanding the board’s resignation, citing a lack of “competence and care.” Employees are also threatening to resign unless Altman and Brockman are reinstated. Microsoft, seemingly anticipating this, has reportedly offered all resigning employees positions on the new AI team led by Altman and Brockman.