The last 72 hours played out like a corporate Game of Thrones, with head-spinning twists, and shocking turn of events.
Late Friday, the OpenAI Board announced it had fired its popular CEO and co-founder Sam Altman, in a stunning post on its website. That led its President and co-founder Greg Brockman to quit in protest; the Board had also removed Brockman from the Board. The Board now consists of: Adam D’Angelo, the founder of Quora; Tasha McCauley, an adjunct senior management scientist at Rand; Helen Toner, a director at a Washington nonprofit; and OpenAI’s chief scientist, Ilya Sutskever.
By Saturday, there were reported efforts by Microsoft, the largest investor in OpenAI, and Thrive Capital to have Altman restored as CEO.
By Sunday, it seemed like Altman had the upper hand and was seeking the resignation of the Board members, who had fired him, as a condition of his return. The Verge even reported that the Board had agreed to do so in principle. According to the WSJ, Altman wanted tech-experienced directors, including such possibilities as Bret Taylor, the former co-chief executive of Salesforce; Brian Chesky, the chief executive of Airbnb, who has been a longtime confidant of Altman’s; and Laurene Powell Jobs, founder and president of Emerson Collective.
Here’s a photo Altman posted at the headquarters of OpenAI on Sunday:
However, in the wee hours of Monday morning, the bid to restore Altman to CEO failed.
But the news didn’t stop there.
OpenAI announced that former CEO of Twitch Emmett Shear would now be the interim CEO of OpenAI, ending the two day tenure of CTO Mira Murati as interim CEO. According to the WSJ, Murati had expressed support for Altman on social media in the form of a heart symbol. She is expected to remain as CTO.
Plus, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced they had hired Sam Altman and Greg Brockman to start a new AI unit in Microsoft.