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Upheaval Continues at OpenAI Amid CEO Sam Altman's Ouster

Sam Altman was ousted as CEO of OpenAI due to a loss of board confidence, leading to his move to Microsoft where he will lead a new AI team

Sam Altman was ousted as CEO of OpenAI over the weekend.
Credit: TechCrunch/Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Sam Altman, a prominent figure in the field of artificial intelligence and the CEO of OpenAI, was removed from his position by the company's board. This decision was based on the board's lack of confidence in his ability to lead, citing issues with his candor in communications with them​​.


Prior to his ouster, Altman had been actively involved in influencing national AI policy, including testifying in Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearings and urging Congress to pass laws mitigating the risks of artificial intelligence. He advocated for licensing regimes for companies developing advanced AI models​​.


Move to Microsoft


Following his departure from OpenAI, Altman joined Microsoft to lead a new advanced artificial intelligence team. This move was announced by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and it included Greg Brockman, OpenAI's former president, who resigned in protest following Altman's ouster​​.


Altman's exit has brought OpenAI into a state of uncertainty, especially considering Microsoft's significant investment in the company and the potential impact on OpenAI's valuation and future plans​​.


OpenAI Employees Threaten Mutiny


In a surprising turn, OpenAI's board hired Emmett Shear, former CEO of Twitch, as the interim CEO, despite some investors' calls for Altman's return​​. This decision further complicated the situation at OpenAI.

Additionally, more than 500 OpenAI employees expressed their discontent with the board's decision, threatening to leave unless the board resigned and reinstated Altman.


The employees criticized the board's actions as undermining the company's mission and work. Ilya Sutskever, OpenAI's chief scientist and a board member who was instrumental in Altman's removal, also signed this letter, expressing regret for his role in the board's decision​​.


OpenAI Names New CEO


The board's decision to oust Altman was met with anger from investors, including Microsoft, who were reportedly unaware of the move until shortly before it was made public. Despite initial rumors and discussions about the possibility of Altman being reinstated, the board ultimately confirmed that he would not return to OpenAI. This was followed by Microsoft's announcement of Altman and Brockman joining their new AI research unit​​.


In the aftermath of Altman's ouster, Mira Murati, OpenAI's chief technology officer, was initially appointed as the interim CEO. However, the board later decided to replace Murati with Emmett Shear as the interim CEO​​. These developments have highlighted the complexities and challenges within the rapidly evolving field of AI and its leadership.

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