The OpenAI board is in discussions with Sam Altman to return as CEO, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. One of them said Altman, who was abruptly fired by the board without notice on Friday, was “clear” about returning and wanted significant management changes.
Negotiations with the company a day after Altman’s ouster indicate that OpenAI is in free fall without him. Hours after he was fired, OpenAI’s president and former board chairman, Greg Brockman, resigned, and the two have been talking to friends and investors about starting another company. A string of senior researchers He also resigned Friday, and people close to OpenAI say more departures are in the works.
Altman is “clear” about returning
Microsoft, OpenAI’s largest investor, said in a statement shortly after Altman was fired that the company “remains committed” to its partnership with the AI firm. However, OpenAI’s investors were not given prior warning or an opportunity to weigh in on the board’s decision to remove Altman. As the company’s face and AI’s most prominent voice, his removal throws OpenAI’s future into uncertainty at a time when rivals are racing to catch up with ChatGPT’s unprecedented growth.
A spokeswoman for OpenAI did not respond to a request for comment about discussing Altman’s return with the group. A Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment.
OpenAI’s current team includes chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, former GeoSim Systems CEO Tasha McCauley, and Helen Donner, director of strategy at the Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technologies. Unlike traditional companies, the board is not tasked with maximizing shareholder value, and none of them owns a stake in OpenAI. Instead, their stated aim is to ensure the “broad benefit” of artificial general intelligence, or AGI, is developed.
According to multiple sources, Chutskever, who co-founded OpenAI and leads its researchers, played a key role in Altman’s ouster this week. Sources say his role in the coup represents a power struggle between the company’s research and manufacturing sides.