Microsoft Expresses Interest in Joining OpenAI Board if Sam Altman Resumes as CEO

Technology

Microsoft Contemplates Joining OpenAI’s Board if Sam Altman Reclaims CEO Position, Amidst Push from Investors and Staff Threatening Mass Resignation


Microsoft, currently a major financial supporter of OpenAI, is considering securing a position on the company’s board of directors in the event that Sam Altman, the ousted CEO, returns to lead the ChatGPT developer. According to The Information, Microsoft is contemplating either acquiring a seat on OpenAI’s board of directors or serving as a board observer without voting rights. Sources close to the matter reveal that Microsoft’s involvement in the board discussions is part of ongoing deliberations regarding the potential reinstatement of OpenAI’s co-founder and former CEO, Sam Altman. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is personally facilitating discussions between OpenAI’s key backers and the organization’s senior leadership, actively engaging with interim CEO Mira Murati to explore the feasibility of Altman’s return.

In the event that Altman’s return proves impractical, Microsoft has expressed a strong interest in supporting Altman’s new venture through strategic investments.

Meanwhile, OpenAI investors are advocating for the reinstatement of Sam Altman as CEO, just one day after his abrupt departure. Bloomberg reports that some investors have reached out to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to discuss Altman’s potential return. Nadella, reportedly caught off guard by the board’s decision, has offered his support to Altman in his future endeavors.

Sam Altman’s sudden departure triggered resignations from high-ranking individuals, including co-founder Greg Brockman and a group of esteemed researchers. Reports suggest that further executive exits may follow in the aftermath of Altman’s removal. Additionally, if Altman were to reclaim the position of OpenAI CEO, he would advocate for modifications to the company’s governing framework.

According to The Verge, OpenAI’s staff has issued a stark ultimatum to the board, demanding the immediate reinstatement of Sam Altman and Greg Brockman or facing a mass resignation of key personnel. While the board initially agreed to these demands, expressing their willingness to resign to facilitate Altman and Brockman’s return, they subsequently failed to meet the staff’s stipulated deadline. Furthermore, Altman is reportedly considering establishing a new company, a move that could potentially attract a substantial portion of OpenAI’s workforce.

The formal statement issued by OpenAI on its website attributed Sam Altman’s departure to inconsistencies and a lack of candor in his interactions with the board. The statement concluded by stating that the board no longer had confidence in Altman’s leadership capabilities. Mira Murati, OpenAI’s chief technology officer, assumed the role of interim CEO following Altman’s dismissal. Altman, in response, described the experience of being ousted as “unconventional” and akin to “witnessing one’s own obituary,” expressing gratitude for the outpouring of support in his exit note.

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