The events of Friday evening continue to echo through the news feeds, acquiring new details literally every hour. The hasty resignation of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was so devastating for the company that the board of directors began to consider the possibility of his return.
Satya Nadella (left) and Sam Altman. Image source: X, Sam Altman
Having summarized all the data available at this hour on the circumstances of Altman’s resignation on Friday evening, Bloomberg named the conflict in the company’s management as the main reason for the removal of the CEO from his position. According to sources, Sam Altman disagreed on many issues regarding the company's development strategy with members of the board of directors.. The board was also dissatisfied with Altman's alleged efforts to seek investors for his own initiatives, which included the development of hardware accelerators for artificial intelligence systems and the creation of a subsidiary that was supposed to develop a device that would be at least comparable to the advent of the smartphone in its revolutionary nature for humanity.. The OpenAI board of directors did not like the fact that Altman, on his own initiative, negotiated with potential investors, hiding behind the name of the company.
In many ways, Altman’s resignation was facilitated by a conflict with OpenAI’s scientific director Ilya Sutskever, who was also at the origins of the company and is a member of the board of directors.. A month before the current events, Sutskever's powers in the company were limited, and this only served as a catalyst for the escalation of the conflict not only with Altman, but also with Greg Brockman, who served as chairman of the board of directors and president.. While preparing Altman's resignation, Sutskever managed to win over some members of the board of directors, which, together with the listed executives, numbered six people.
Altman's resignation from the board of directors was sudden by business standards.. On Thursday evening, Sutzkever invited the CEO to participate in a video conference with the rest of the board of directors, with the exception of Chairman Greg Brockman, which took place on Friday afternoon. It was Sutskever who made it clear that the OpenAI board of directors was preparing Altman’s resignation, and this information would soon be made public. Brockman was later informed that he would be stripped of his board position but could retain his position as president of the company.. Brockman himself, as is already known, decided to leave the leadership of OpenAI as a result of all these events.
Microsoft, which is OpenAI's main investor, was notified of Altman's resignation within just a few minutes.. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has contacted Altman, sources say, and expressed his unconditional support for all his possible future endeavors.. Publicly, Microsoft only announced its readiness to continue long-term cooperation with OpenAI.
According to Bloomberg, transactions for the sale of OpenAI shares by the company's employees, which estimated its capitalization at $86 billion, were being prepared several weeks before these events, now at least suspended in anticipation of further certainty, although some investors managed to abandon their intentions to buy shares.
Finally, the most recent intrigue at the moment is The Verge's report about the board of directors' readiness to consider the possibility of returning Sam Altman to the post of CEO. The latter does not object to this, but would like to eliminate the existing contradictions in the leadership. As a result, under pressure from investors, the company may change the composition of its board of directors.. If Altman’s resignation cannot be won back, then there is a risk of a split in the company; some of the key employees may join him in a new startup. It is obvious that OpenAI investors are not interested in this, and therefore are trying to help resolve the conflict. Board members, according to The Verge, even agreed to resign and allow Altman and Brockman to return, but were unable to formally consolidate their decision by the appointed time. OpenAI employees had already begun leaving by then, raising the possibility of them moving to a new company that Altman might start.. Former Chairman of the Board of Directors Greg Brockman can also provide him with support in this.