Sam Altman will not return to OpenAI: He and others who quit are hired by Microsoft

November 20, 2023  16:31

Sam Altman will not return to OpenAI, from which he was unexpectedly fired. Instead, the man who founded the company and is behind the development of ChatGPT will join Microsoft, and not alone, but most likely along with all the other employees who left OpenAI, including Greg Brockman. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wrote about this today on the social network X (formerly Twitter).

We’re extremely excited to share the news that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, together with colleagues, will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team. We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success,” he wrote, adding that Microsoft remains committed to its partnership with OpenAI and looks forward to meeting and working with Emmett Shear and the company's new leadership team.

Microsoft, OpenAI's largest investor, is interested in the stable development of this startup, but the coup and dismissal of Sam Altman could cause serious damage to Microsoft. Moreover, this news took Microsoft management by surprise. According to Bloomberg's source, the head of the corporation, Satya Nadella, was “stunned” by the news of the dismissal of Altman, whom he had always supported, and even became furious.

OpenAI's board of directors seemed to quickly regret the decision and considered the possibility of returning Altman to the post of CEO. Altman even visited the company's headquarters, albeit as a guest: The Information reported that Altman was invited to hold negotiations. But the negotiations seem to have come to nothing.

Later, co-founder and board director Ilya Sutskever announced that Sam Altman would not return to the post of CEO of OpenAI, despite attempts by the company's management to return him. The position of interim CEO was handed to Emmett Shear, co-founder of Amazon-owned streaming service Twitch.

People familiar with the negotiations say that it was not possible to agree on the reinstatement of Sam Altman as CEO due to contradictions regarding the composition and role of the board of directors. Altman, according to Bloomberg, was ready to return, but wanted changes in the management of the company, including the removal of current board members. Key OpenAI leaders also pushed for the board to resign and bring back Altman. At first, members of the board of directors agreed to resign and even began searching for new directors.

Microsoft, as the company's largest investor, also intervened in the negotiation process. If Altman were to lead the company again, Microsoft would likely try to include a representative on the board of directors, at least as a non-voting observer.

Why the negotiations reached a dead end is still unknown. But it seems that Altman will not return to the company he founded and will indeed leave to work at Microsoft.

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