Fired Sam Altman Issues a Veiled Threat to OpenAI’s Board

Sam Altman fired by OpenAI board

The man recently out of a job Mr. Sam Altman has issued undefined threats to the OpenAI board hours after he was fired. On his social media account, Mr. Altman wrote “if I start going off, the OpenAI board should go after me for the full value of my shares”

His veiled threat is currently hard to decipher. Altman’s ownership is limited to an indirect shareholding resulting from a modest investment made by Y Combinator, where he previously served as president. OpenAI directors do not possess any ownership stake in the company or receive any form of compensation. This means even as founder, Sam Altman does not directly own any share. Further, the company was recently in talks to sell employee shares to investors at a valuation of $86 billion.

What is clear is that the company’s cofounder is reeling from the shock of his abrupt sacking.

Sam Altman Accused of Lying to Board

OpenAI board surprisingly fired Mr. Altman as CEO of the company behind ChatGPT. The board claimed the CEO did not always tell the board the truth stating “Mr. Altman’s departure follows a deliberative review process by the board, which concluded that he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities,” the company said in a statement. “The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.”

In the Interim, Albanian engineer Mira Murati has been appointed as the acting CEO of OpenAI. Previously, she held the position of Chief Technology Officer at the company.

Greg Brockman, a co-founder of OpenAI who had been chairman of the board, immediately announced he was resigning as the company’s president. Brockman simply wrote, “based on today’s news, I quit.” There were a total of six board members, with the chief scientist Ilya Suyskever being the sole surviving staff member. It appears that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman were completely caught off guard by the situation.

ChatGPT’s Success

The last one year under Sam Altman have been a success. ChatGPT grew so fast to over 100 million active users. It is today the fastest growing platform in terms of users. Only this week, the number of users signing up for its premium services was so high, OpenAI had to pause new subscriptions.

Hence, the firing of Altman was a surprise that he himself describes as “ a weird experience in many ways.”.  He goes on to say that the sacking felt “like reading your own eulogy while you’re still alive.”. Altman was quick to thank those who had reached out to support him. He said he loved his time at OpenAI describing the experience as “transformative.”

Microsoft’s Position

Following the news, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said this in a statement “We have a long-term agreement with OpenAI with full access to everything we need to deliver on our innovation agenda and an exciting product roadmap; and remain committed to our partnership, and to Mira and the team”.

Microsoft currently gets 75% share of OpenAI’s profits until it makes back the money on its investment. Thereafter, the company will own a 49% stake in OpenAI. For now, the tech giant doesn’t have a seat on OpenAI’s board. Like Altman and Brockman, Microsoft was informed of the decision minutes before it was made public.