Former OpenAI CEO, Sam Altman, may not be completely out of a job after his surprise firing on Friday. Sources close to Altman have revealed that the board has agreed in principle to resign while reinstating him to his former position. However, the board has missed a deadline regarding this decision.
Following Altman’s firing, several senior staff members, including former Chairman Greg Brockman and Director of Research Jakub Pachocki, resigned in protest. Other OpenAI employees were also reportedly prepared to quit in solidarity with Altman, should he decide to launch a new AI startup.
The reason for Altman’s termination, according to an internal memo, was not related to any wrongdoing or financial, business, safety, or security/privacy issues.
Microsoft, a major investor in OpenAI, expressed confidence in the interim-CEO Mira Murati and the partnership between the two entities. However, employees were given little notice prior to the official announcement of the leadership change.
The New York Times reports that Altman and Brockman are not guaranteed a return to power due to the company’s non-profit origins, which limit investor influence on company-wide decisions. The remaining members of the OpenAI board include lead researcher Ilya Sutskever, Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, director of strategy at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology Helen Toner, and computer scientist Tasha McCauley.
Overall, the situation surrounding Altman’s firing and the board’s potential resignations and reinstatement remain uncertain.