Microsoft and other big investors in OpenAI are pushing to get Sam Altman reinstated as CEO, reports Bloomberg. Things are still very fluid and after intense negotiations through Saturday, The Verge hears that it has been decided to continue talks today. OpenAI is the artificial intelligence firm behind ChatGPT, DALL-E, and several Microsoft AI-enhanced tools.
On Friday we reported on the shock departure of Mr Altman. He had become the recognizable public face of OpenAI over recent months, and perhaps even a figurehead of the AI industry as a whole. His incredibly sudden departure was precipitated by a decision made by the board of directors.
The reasoning behind the decision to oust Altman was given by the board as due to a lack of confidence in him as CEO. He was also accused of not always being entirely truthful or straightforward in his communications with the board. Various reports framed the removal of Altman as the non-profit faction of OpenAI shedding the driving force(s) behind the commercialization of the company. Hours after Altman was ousted, co-founder and former chair Greg Brockman quit in sympathy with the CEO.
Circling back to the latest developments, Bloomberg says “people with knowledge of the matter” are seeing big investors in OpenAI pressing for the return of Altman. Microsoft with over $10B invested, plus other large contributors to the OpenAI kitty Thrive Capital, and Tiger Global Management apparently want Altman back at the helm.
What might need to happen for Altman to return is for the board to change its view, or for them to step down and be replaced. That might sound extraordinary, but since his removal as CEO a significant throng of developers at the firm have signaled support for him – or his next venture.
Bloomberg says that OpenAI COO Brad Lightcap has been speaking with the board to better understand their earlier decision. Lightcap asserts that Altman wasn’t removed for any wrongdoing, or any financial or safety irregularities under his stewardship. What he thinks has happened was simply “a breakdown in communication between Sam and the board.”
The next few hours look set to be very important for Altman, OpenAI, and the AI industry as a whole. Hopefully, by the end of the day, we will have some resolution.
Stay on the Cutting Edge
Join the experts who read Tom's Hardware for the inside track on enthusiast PC tech news — and have for over 25 years. We'll send breaking news and in-depth reviews of CPUs, GPUs, AI, maker hardware and more straight to your inbox.
Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.
This is the craziest tech business story in a while. They got removed by a "coup", but if Altman, Brockman, and others do come back, they will clean house and have more control than ever. Meanwhile, chaos at OpenAI will give other companies a chance to grab customers.Reply
Hard to believe this is the top story everywhere you look the last 3 days! This is beyond silly.Reply
fired cause OpenAI might cost 700k daily, stockholders got nervous.Reply
might get him back to avoid competition with the very same Altman, stockholders got nervous.
The story of Steve Job get ousted then backed again, but compressed to 7 days.Reply
What were these guys thinking? Fire CEO and no plan seemingly?Reply
Good question, the alternatives basically are that they were either not up to the task or they didn't care about losing their investors' money. But considering how quickly Altman is seemingly returning, he's entered OpenAI's HQ earlier today, it looks like they do care about their investors. So I'm just left with the impression that they were not up to the job (and should get dismissed ASAP).elforeign said:What were these guys thinking? Fire CEO and no plan seemingly?
I'd really like to know what are all the true reasons for Altman dismissal. 'lack of confidence' sounds a bit generic.Reply
RedBear87 said:Good question, the alternatives basically are that they were either not up to the task or they didn't care about losing their investors' money. But considering how quickly Altman is seemingly returning, he's entered OpenAI's HQ earlier today, it looks like they do care about their investors. So I'm just left with the impression that they were not up to the job (and should get dismissed ASAP).
Boards don't really have a choice when it comes to owners money, and that's what investors are, owners. 51% of a companies ownership can replace a board by just filing for a special election with the SEC. I'm thinking the "board" were tech startup people who didn't understand this and thought "I am the law", large shareholders (owners) making phone calls is enough to scare any BOD.
No, this is just a high-stakes boardroom drama, played out in public.Bikki said:The story of Steve Job get ousted then backed again, but compressed to 7 days.
Steve went off and did other stuff for like 15 years (including co-owning Pixar). He changed, grew, matured, and Apple brought him back along with his NextStep OS, as the basis for OS X.
I thought the SEC just had jurisdiction over publicly-traded companies & stock exchanges.palladin9479 said:51% of a companies ownership can replace a board by just filing for a special election with the SEC.