Recently ousted OpenAI CEO Sam Altman’s attempt to return to the company ended unsuccessfully late Sunday as the board of directors that fired him last week failed to agree to the proposed terms of his reinstatement, instead finding an interim replacement.
OpenAI, which developed AI software ChatGPT, named Emmett Shear, former chief executive of Twitch, as its interim CEO, according to multiple reports. Altman was reportedly surprised by the move after previously feeling confident he would return to the company despite the board concluding he was not "consistently candid in his communications."
Altman was at the company’s office earlier in the day on Sunday after his representatives were able to bring the board to the negotiating table amid investors and many employees pushing for him to retake control.
The OpenAI co-founder entered OpenAI’s headquarters on Sunday with a guest badge, writing on X, formerly Twitter, that it was his "first and last time" wearing one of those badges.
Altman's demand that the current board resign largely ended his bid to return as CEO, according to the Wall Street Journal. The board members ultimately opted not to reinstate Altman despite pushes from investors, including Microsoft and venture-capital firm Thrive Capital, in an unusual corporate structure where board members have power over investors funneling billions of dollars into the company.
Mira Murati, who had been named interim CEO on Friday with the news of Altman’s ouster, will retain her role as OpenAI's chief technology officer, the WSJ reported. OpenAI's now-former president and co-founder Greg Brockman quit on Friday in response to Altman's firing, resulting in the board removing him from his position.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced Monday morning on X that Altman and Brockman will be leading a new advanced AI research team at Microsoft.
Employees at OpenAI were outraged over the weekend and several researchers threatened to quit if Altman was not brought back. The board chose Shear as a replacement, in part, because of his willingness to navigate a tumultuous situation with employees.
Co-founder and board member Ilya Sutskever, who fired Altman on Friday, reportedly told employees late Sunday night about Shear being named interim CEO. After the announcement, some OpenAI employees wrote on X that they had resigned.
The Wall Street Journal contributed to this report.