OpenAI, the esteemed AI company known for its groundbreaking work in the field, is facing a major upheaval as 490 employees threaten to depart unless there is a complete overhaul of the board and the reinstatement of Sam Altman as CEO, alongside cofounder Greg Brockman. The controversy stems from Altman’s recent dismissal by the board, which has prompted widespread discontent among the staff.
In a strongly worded letter released by OpenAI employees, they express their concern that the manner in which Altman was terminated and Brockman was removed from the board has not only undermined the company’s mission but also jeopardized their collective achievements. The employees accuse the board of incompetence and lack of credibility in overseeing OpenAI.
The surprising aspect of the letter is the inclusion of Ilya Sutskever, OpenAI’s chief scientist and a board member who has himself faced accusations of orchestrating the boardroom coup against Altman. However, Sutskever expressed regret for his role, stating that he never intended harm to the company and is committed to reuniting the organization.
This recent development comes after a whirlwind weekend in Silicon Valley. OpenAI’s board initially removed Altman, citing his lack of transparency in communication, but faced immense backlash from investors, including industry giant Microsoft. This led to a potential plan for Altman’s return, which was ultimately quashed by the board. In a surprising turn of events, both Altman and Brockman were announced to join Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research unit.
As a response to these developments, OpenAI’s board reshuffled its leadership once again, replacing interim CEO Mira Murati with Emmett Shear, former CEO of video game streaming site Twitch. This rapid succession of changes has left many OpenAI employees frustrated, particularly due to a perceived lack of communication regarding Altman’s termination.
The employees’ letter includes a threat to join Altman at Microsoft, as they claim that Microsoft has assured them of positions at the new subsidiary. The OpenAI staff insist that unless all current board members step down and two new lead independent directors are appointed, along with the reinstatement of Altman and Brockman, they will take immediate action to resign and join the newly formed Microsoft subsidiary.
This latest leadership crisis at OpenAI has raised questions about the competence of the board and their ability to steer the company effectively. The outcome of this revolt remains uncertain, but it is evident that the employees believe a significant change in leadership is necessary to preserve OpenAI’s mission and continued success.
Why are OpenAI employees threatening to leave?
OpenAI employees are considering leaving the company due to their discontent with the board’s decision to terminate Sam Altman and remove Greg Brockman from the board. They believe this action has undermined the company’s mission and jeopardized their achievements.
Who has joined the employees in their protest?
The letter released by the OpenAI employees includes signatures from various staff members, including Ilya Sutskever, the company’s chief scientist and board member who was initially accused of orchestrating the coup against Sam Altman.
What has been the response from OpenAI’s board and investors?
OpenAI’s board faced backlash from investors, particularly Microsoft, leading to the possibility of Sam Altman’s return. However, the board ultimately decided against it. Altman and Greg Brockman are set to join Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research unit.
What actions are the employees considering?
The OpenAI employees threaten to resign from the company and join the new Microsoft subsidiary led by Sam Altman and Greg Brockman. Microsoft has reportedly assured these employees of positions within the subsidiary.
What demands are the employees making for the board to avert their departure?
To prevent employee resignations, the letter issued by the OpenAI staff stipulates that all current board members must resign, and two new lead independent directors, such as Bret Taylor and Will Hurd, need to be appointed. Additionally, the employees demand the reinstatement of Sam Altman and Greg Brockman as part of the leadership changes.