Despite ongoing negotiations on Sunday aimed at renegotiating his return, Sam Altman, a pivotal figure in the artificial intelligence revolution, will not be resuming his role as the chief executive of OpenAI. This unexpected turn of events adds another layer of complexity to one of Silicon Valley’s most intense boardroom showdowns.
Over the weekend, Altman was suddenly ousted as the CEO of OpenAI, creating a stir in the tech industry that not only surprised the company’s employees but also caught OpenAI’s investors, including Microsoft, off guard.
Emmett Shear, co-founder of Twitch, the popular video game streaming platform acquired by Amazon in 2014, has now been appointed as the interim CEO of OpenAI. This change sees him taking over from Mira Murati, who was appointed interim CEO during a management reshuffle on Friday, according to information from a source familiar with the situation.
OpenAI’s statement, somewhat vague in explaining the reasons for Sam Altman’s departure, emphasized concerns about his inconsistent “candid” communication with the board. The company also removed its chairman and president, Greg Brockman, from the board. Shortly after the press release, Brockman announced his resignation, stating that he and Sam were shocked and saddened by this sudden decision.
A source directly involved with OpenAI remarked, “It is nuts for sure. So much value and mission destroyed overnight.”
On Sunday, Altman engaged in discussions at the OpenAI office about the potential of his return to the company. Conversations among Altman, the board, and investors, including Microsoft and venture capital firms, explored the possibility of Altman’s comeback and the consideration of bringing in new directors to replace the existing board. Several names were floated, including Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and former Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.
However, by late Sunday night, these discussions had reached an impasse, leading the board to announce the appointment of Emmett Shear as interim CEO to the employees.