OpenAI’s board is in discussions with Sam Altman to return to the CEO role, according to several people familiar with the matter. Altman, who was abruptly fired by the board on Friday without warning, is “ambivalent” about returning and wants major changes in management, one of them said.
That Altman was in talks with the company just a day after his ouster suggests that OpenAI is in free fall without him. Hours after his firing, Greg Brockman, OpenAI’s president and former CEO, resigned, and the two were talking with friends about starting another company. An elite group of senior researchers He also resigned on Friday, and people close to OpenAI say more departures are in the works.
Microsoft, the largest investor in OpenAI, said in a statement shortly after Altman’s firing that the company “remains committed” to its partnership with the AI company. However, OpenAI investors were not given advance warning or opportunity to comment on the board’s decision to remove Altman. As the face of the company and the most prominent voice in the AI space, his dismissal throws the future of OpenAI into uncertainty at a time when competitors are racing to catch up to the unprecedented success of ChatGPT.
The remaining OpenAI board consists of: OpenAI chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, former GeoSim Systems CEO Tasha McCauley, and Helen Toner, director of strategy at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology. Unlike traditional corporations, the board of directors is not charged with maximizing shareholder value. Its stated mission is to ensure the creation of “widely useful” artificial general intelligence, or AGI.
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