Sam Altman, who was ousted as the CEO of OpenAI, will not return to the company, and instead, he'll join tech behemoth Microsoft Inc to lead a new advanced AI research team, Microsoft chief executive officer (CEO) Satya Nadella announced on X.
Notably, former Twitch chief executive Emmett Shear has been appointed as the new CEO of generative AI major OpenAI, the company behind widely popular AI platform ChatGPT, after the surprising exit of Altman over the weekend.
"We remain committed to our partnership with OpenAI and have confidence in our product roadmap, our ability to continue to innovate with everything we announced at Microsoft Ignite, and in continuing to support our customers and partners," Nadella posted on X.
Nadella says Microsoft is looking forward to getting to know Emmett Shear and OAI's new leadership team and working with them. Notably, Microsoft had announced a $1billion investment in OpenAI in 2019. This year in January, too, the tech major announced the third phase of its long-term partnership with OpenAI through a multiyear, multibillion-dollar investment to accelerate AI breakthroughs. This followed the company's previous investments in 2019 and 2021.
"And 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," Nadella added.
Responding to Nadella's tweet, Atman replied: "The mission continues".
Earlier reports had suggested that the company's senior leadership was trying to bring Altman back after a revolt over his exit by many. The OpenAI board had fired Altman, seen as the human face of generative AI, saying he "will depart as CEO and leave the board of directors".
Altman’s departure followed a "deliberative review process" by the OpenAI board, which concluded he was "not consistently candid" in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities the company alleged.
The company says the OpenAI board no longer has "confidence" in its ability to continue leading OpenAI. Saying that a new leadership is necessary as we move forward, the company appointed Mira Murati, the company’s chief technology officer, as the interim CEO, effective immediately.
"As the leader of the company’s research, product, and safety functions, Mira is exceptionally qualified to step into the role of interim CEO. We have the utmost confidence in her ability to lead OpenAI during this transition period,” the company adds.
OpenAI’s board of directors consists of OpenAI chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, independent directors Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, technology entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, and Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology’s Helen Toner.
After Altman's exit, Greg Brockman also stepped down as the chairman of the board, and later quit the company to join Microsoft, saying he was still trying to figure out exactly what happened at OpenAI.
OpenAI, on the other hand, claims a majority of its board is independent. "While the company has experienced dramatic growth, it remains the fundamental governance responsibility of the board to advance OpenAI’s mission and preserve the principles of its Charter."
Meanwhile, on the exit from the company he helped scale to a global level, Altman termed it a "weird experience". "I love you all. today was a weird experience in many ways. but one unexpected one is that it has been sorta like reading your own eulogy while you’re still alive. the outpouring of love is awesome. one takeaway: go tell your friends how great you think they are."
Greg Brockman said Sam and he was shocked and saddened. "Let us first say thank you to all the incredible people who we have worked with at OpenAI, our customers, our investors, and all of those who have been reaching out. We too are still trying to figure out exactly what happened."
Thanking his supporters, he said that "Greater things (are) coming soon".