Sam Altman says there is harmony at OpenAI as investors and employees revolt over his dismissal

Sam Altman insisted on Monday that he and OpenAI were “still a team” with “one mission,” even as employees and key investors alike threatened to leave the embattled AI startup after the board’s shocking decision to oust him. the company.

Altman, who is now set to head a new artificial intelligence unit at Microsoft, called for a unified front despite an open letter in which nearly all of OpenAI’s 770 employees said they would resign from the company unless its entire board of directors will resign, and Altman and his co-founder Greg Brockman are reinstated.

“We’re all going to work together in one way or another, and I’m very excited,” Altman said.

“[Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella] And my top priority remains to ensure that OpenAI continues to thrive, we are committed to providing full continuity of operations to our partners and customers. The OpenAI/Microsoft partnership makes this very feasible,” he added.

Altman’s comments were met with a degree of skepticism given the obvious turmoil that emerged after one of the most unexpected and surprising coup attempts in Silicon Valley history.

The board announced late Friday that it “no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI” because Altman “was not consistently candid in his communications.”

His firing caught key partners by surprise, including investment firms such as Thrive Capital and Khosla Ventures, as well as Microsoft, which found out just minutes before it was announced despite committing more than $13 billion to the company’s operations. OpenAI.

Investor Vinod Khosla attacked the board of directors of OpenAI in a hot column for The Informationwriting that its members had made a “serious miscalculation” and “rolled back the promise of artificial intelligence.”

Sam Altman said OpenAI will continue to operate as “one team.”

“Every problem has a solution,” said Thrive Capital founder Josh Kushner, whose company was to be the lead buyer in a planned OpenAI stock sale that was expected to value the company at about $86 billion and It will close at the end of the year.

As the fight over the future of OpenAI grows stranger by the hour, speculation has grown in the private market that the planned share sale is doomed to fail.

Ken Smythe of private equity advisory Next Round Capital told The Post that OpenAI’s fundraising plans are likely over, given the chaos behind the scenes.

As of Monday, some key investors “were considering writing down the value of their holdings in OpenAI to zero.” Bloomberg reported, citing a source familiar with the matter. The outlet noted that the potential move “seemed designed to pressure the board to resign and bring Altman back.”

Nadella Satya

Altman’s departure was “a material change of circumstances” that called into question Thrive’s involvement in the stock sale, although the sale could still occur if Altman were reappointed CEO of OpenAI, a a source told the Financial Times.

Thrive did not immediately respond to the Post’s request for comment.

Despite public comments indicating that he has moved on, Altman himself has not yet closed the door on a return to his former role as CEO of OpenAI, according to sources The edge that he and Brockman were still open to a return on the condition that all remaining board members agree to resign.

Sources told the outlet that Altman’s comment about “work[ing] together in one way or another” was intended “to indicate that the fight continues.”

On the other hand, Microsoft has emerged as a big winner after securing Altman’s services – and likely a significant part of OpenAI’s workforce – for a fraction of the valuation it would have gotten as recently as last week.

Altman himself has reportedly not yet closed the door on a return to his former role as CEO of OpenAI, and sources told The Verge that he and Greg Brockman, above, were still open to a return.
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“Microsoft just pulled off one of the biggest coups in recent history by acquiring not only OpenAI’s technology but also its people in 48 hours,” Smythe said.

Nadella said Altman and Brockman “will join Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team.”

“We look forward to acting quickly to provide them with the resources necessary for their success,” Nadella said. She added that Microsoft remained “committed to our partnership with OpenAI and [has] confidence in our product roadmap.”

In their scathing open letter, OpenAI staff criticized the board for lack of “competence, judgment, and care for our mission and employees” and said: “Microsoft has assured us that there are positions for all OpenAI employees in this new subsidiary” in case they decide to do so. abandon.

OpenAI’s board of directors has named Emmett Shear, co-founder of the popular video game streaming platform Twitch, as its interim CEO.

The workers demanded that OpenAI name two new lead independent directors, citing former Twitter board chairman Bret Taylor and former U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), who left OpenAI’s board earlier this year. as potential options.

For now, OpenAI’s board of directors has named Emmett Shear, co-founder of the popular video game streaming platform Twitch, as its interim CEO.

Shear has already rushed to reassure the company’s employees and investors. In a lengthy statement published on X, Shear pledged to reform the company’s leadership team and conduct an independent investigation into the circumstances that led to Altman’s unexpected departure.

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