Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has announced that Sam Altman will be leading an ‘Advanced AI research’ team within the company, in a significant development. This decision comes just a couple of days after OpenAI fired Altman from his CEO role. It’s worth noting that Microsoft is also an investor in OpenAI. Although Altman was approached regarding the possibility of rejoining the company, he declined the offer.
Nadella posted on X that Sam Altman and former Open AI president Greg Brockman will be “joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team”. “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. We look forward to getting to know Emmett Shear and OAI’s new leadership team and working with them”, he said.
Sam Altman quoted Nadella’s post and said, “The Mission Continues”. Nadella then expressed his excitement about Altman joining this new group as CEO. “We’ve learned a lot over the years about how to give founders and innovators space to build independent identities and cultures within Microsoft, including GitHub, Mojang Studios, and LinkedIn, and I’m looking forward to having you do the same”, he added.
On November 17, 2023, OpenAI, the company best known for their AI chatbot ChatGPT, released a statement regarding Altman’s exit from the company. The statement revealed that his exit was the result of a thorough review process conducted by the board, who concluded that he had been less than forthcoming in his communication with them, ultimately hindering their ability to carry out their responsibilities. As a result, the board no longer had confidence in Altman’s ability to lead OpenAI.
The company board accused Altman of concealing information and dismissed him from his position as CEO. Following this decision, Mira Murati, the chief technology officer, was appointed as interim CEO. Shortly after the announcement, president of OpenAI Greg Brockman also resigned from his role, supporting Altman.
In a major turn of events, it was then reported by Bloomberg that Murati had plans to re-hire her predecessor, Altman. According to a report from The Verge, the board also began discussing his return under pressure from investors and the threat of a mass resignation.
However, they missed a key deadline of 5 PM P.T. on Saturday by which the staff would begin resigning if the board didn’t reach a conclusion in Altman and Brockman’s favour. The board missed another deadline, which was set for 24 hours later on November 19, implying that they didn’t want Altman (and Brockman) to return. Multiple staff members then took to X to show their support towards Sam.
Then, as per a report from The Information, board director Ilya Sutskever announced to the staff that Emmett Shear, the former Twitch CEO, will take over as the temporary CEO of OpenAI, while Sam Altman will not come back to his previous role. Shear confirmed the same via a post on X.