Friday’s announcement that OpenAI’s board of directors fired its co-founder and CEO Sam Altman out of the blue shook the entire tech industry. Now there’s a new report claiming that the company’s board is actually in talks to bring Altman back to his former role.
The report comes from The Verge, citing unnamed sources. There’s no word on exactly why OpenAI’s board might be willing to do a 180 on Friday’s decision. It does claim Altman himself is “ambivalent” about returning to the CEO role. It also claims that if he did return, there would have to be “significant governance changes” at the company.
OpenAI’s board stated on Friday that Altman was shown the door because “he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities.” After his firing, another OpenAI co-founder and its President Greg Brockman announced his resignation from the company, after being told he would no longer be the board’s chairman.
In the 24 hours and change since Altman’s firing, there have been numerous reports about why Altman was fired. One report from Bloomberg (via Yahoo) claimed that Altman had disagreements with the board on the safety of its AI products like ChatGPT, along with both the speed and the commercialization of those AI products.
Another Bloomberg report (via Yahoo) stated Altman specifically clashed with OpenAI’s chief scientist and board member Ilya Sutskever, and it’s possible he convinced the other board members to fire Altman. Currently, the company’s chief technology officer Mira Murati is serving as its interim CEO.
The same report claimed that OpenAI’s major technology and investment partner Microsoft was “blindsided” by the decision to fire Altman. Officially, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella issued a statement claiming the company was “committed to our partnership” with OpenAI. However, Bloomberg’s report claims that privately, Nadella was “furious” at the board’s decision to get rid of Altman.