Former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and former president Greg Brockman are in talks with executives at the company’s San Francisco headquarters regarding the possibility of reinstating their positions, according to a report from The Information. The push to reinstate Altman as CEO has been led by interim CEO Mira Murati and others, who invited Altman and Brockman to headquarters for discussions. Altman tweeted a photo of himself wearing a guest badge for entry into the building, hinting at the ongoing negotiations. Altman has set a deadline for board members to reach an agreement, which will determine whether he remains with OpenAI or departs.
Altman’s unexpected firing led to Brockman stepping down in solidarity, along with several senior researchers. Other staff members have expressed support and pledged to resign as well, following Altman and Brockman to other projects. The board’s initial decision has faced significant backlash, and there have been discussions about potentially reinstating Altman as CEO. However, the board missed the deadline to reach a decision due to disagreements over the composition and role of the board if Altman returns.
Altman has expressed a desire to remove the existing board and implement governance changes if he returns, including adding former Salesforce CEO Bret Taylor as a board member and potentially bringing on a Microsoft executive. The reasons behind Altman’s removal as CEO and from the board remain speculative, with an internal memo stating that it was due to a breakdown in communication rather than any misconduct or financial issues.
Prior to his firing, Altman was fundraising for a custom AI chip project called “Tigris.” He has pitched the idea of custom Tensor Processing Units (TPUs) to potential investors, aiming to rival NVIDIA’s offerings. Altman has also been seeking backers for a hardware collaboration with former Apple designer Jony Ive, approaching SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son. He is reportedly trying to raise significant funding to support these projects.