Ex-OpenAI CEO Altman joins Microsoft amid weekend of shakeups

OpenAI Co-founder/Chairman & CTO Greg Brockman, OpenAI Co-Founder & CEO Sam Altman and TechCrunch News Editor Frederic Lardinois | Ex-OpenAI CEO Altman joins Microsoft amid weekend of shakeups

Microsoft has announced the appointment of ex-OpenAI CEO Sam Altman to head a new advanced artificial intelligence team after he was fired from the CEO role at Microsoft-backed OpenAI.

The non-profit company recently announced that it has parted with CEO Sam Altman as the company appointed chief technology officer Mira Murati as interim CEO.

On November 17, the creator of ChatGPT announced in a statement that 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” and that “the board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI”.

The company’s board of directors also outlined in the statement that they are “grateful for Sam’s many contributions to the founding and growth of OpenAI”, but “believe new leadership is necessary” as they move forward and look to identify a permanent successor.

Following the surprise news, multiple reports indicated that Altman attended talks with  OpenAI on November 19, with the potential to make a return as chief executive of the firm, influenced by investors’ pressure to reverse his sacking.

However, the attempts to reinstall him have failed as the board of directors said in a note to employees on Sunday that Altman will not return to his previous position while the company also announced his second interim replacement in two days – Emmett Shear, former CEO and co-founder of live-streaming site Twitch.

Hours later, in another unexpected step, Microsoft announced it was hiring Altman and Greg Brockman, OpenAI’s president and a co-founder who quit in solidarity with Altman. The duo are now appointed to lead an advanced research lab at Microsoft with the move likely to spur a mass exodus of OpenAI staff.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, said: “We’re extremely excited to share the news that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, together with colleagues, will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team.”