Over 70% of OpenAI’s employees have told the board to resign citing incompetence, poor judgement and misaligned values towards the company’s mission and its employees. In what could likely be a final blow to OpenAI, 505 out of the current 770 employees have threatened to resign and follow the ousted CEO, Sam Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman at Microsoft. In a letter shared on X by journalist Kara Swisher, the employees have stated that Microsoft has assured them of positions at the new subsidiary if they decide to join.
The OpenAI employees have further criticized the board’s move to replace Mira Murati as the interim CEO with former Twitch boss and co-founder, Emmett Shear. According to the letter, this move was against the best interests of the company since Mira and the leadership team had “already acted swiftly to stabilize the company.” The letter further indicates that the board failed to provide evidence for allegations that led to Sam Altman’s termination.
Notable signatories of the letter include the former interim CEO, Mira Murati and the man in the middle of the storm, Ilya Sutskever. Ilya, currently the chief scientist and sits on the board, was highly involved in the ousting of Sam Altman. In a surprise move, he has come out and expressed “deep regrets” in his role during this weekend’s turmoil.
It’s not the first time the employees have threatened to resign during the recent power shake-up initiated by Altman’s firing on Friday. The staffers had also previously vowed to resign if Sam Altman and Greg Brockman were not reinstated. There were reports that the board had agreed in principle on this but ultimately failed to follow through. Given the unwavering support the ousted CEO has received online from staff, it’s very likely they will move to Microsoft as even more employees continue to sign the letter.
However, the employees have left the door open to continue working under OpenAI provided that a qualified board is appointed, and the current board resigns.
Sam Altman’s new role at Microsoft
Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft announced today Altman’s hiring to lead a “new advanced research team.” The announcement came after the board’s decision to not reinstate Sam Altman as CEO. Greg Brockman and other senior engineers who quit earlier in solidarity with Altman will also be joining him on this new venture. Satya adds, “We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success.”
This development comes after the tech giant recently confirmed that it was working on its own AI chip. This would help reduce its costly reliance on chipmaker giant, Nvidia.