NEWS20 November 2023

New leadership at OpenAI as Sam Altman joins Microsoft

AI News North America Technology

US – Sam Altman has departed as chief executive at ChatGPT owner OpenAI and has taken up an artificial intelligence (AI) role at Microsoft, with Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear to become the new OpenAI CEO.

ChatGPT icon on phone

On Friday 17th November, OpenAI, which was founded in 2015, said that Altman would depart immediately and leave its board of directors.

Greg Brockman, co-founder of ChatGPT firm OpenAI, also departed the company over the weekend, and has joined Altman in a new role in advanced AI research at Microsoft.

OpenAI’s statement on Friday claimed that Altman “was not consistently candid in his communications with the board”, which the company said meant it no longer had confidence in his ability to lead the company.

A statement from the board of OpenAI said: “We are grateful for Sam’s many contributions to the founding and growth of OpenAI. At the same time, we believe new leadership is necessary as we move forward.”

At the time, Mira Murati was appointed as interim chief executive, having previously served as OpenAI’s chief technology officer.

However, on Monday 20th November, Shear announced on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he had been named as interim chief executive at OpenAI, having left Twitch earlier this year.

In a statement, Shear said: “I took this job because I believe that OpenAI is one of the most important companies currently in existence.

“When the board shared the situation and asked me to take the role, I did not make the decision lightly. Ultimately, I felt that I had a duty to help if I could.”

Shear also admitted that the process and communications around Altman’s removal had been “handled very badly” and “seriously damaged our trust”.

In a separate statement on X, Microsoft chief executive and chair Satya Nadella said Altman would lead a new advanced AI research team at the company, with Microsoft retaining its existing relationship with OpenAI.

“We remain committed to our partnership with OpenAI and have confidence in our product roadmap, our ability to continue to innovate with everything we announced at Microsoft Ignite, and in continuing to support our customers and partners,” explained Nadella.

“We look forward to getting to know Emmett Shear and OAI’s new leadership team and working with them. And 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.

“We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success.”