Of the 700 professionals who are part of the OpenAI team, 505 signed an open letter calling for the return of former CEO Sam Altman and the departure of the Board of Directors that fired him. The letter threatens a mass firing if Altman does not return.
Last Friday (17), the then CEO of OpenAI, Sam Altman, was fired by the company’s Board of Directors. After a weekend marked by complaints and controversies, the company responsible for ChatGPT made Altman’s resignation official with the hiring of Emmet Shear, former CEO of Twitch, for the position.
Today, Microsoft announced the hiring of Altman and Greg Brockman, former president of OpenAI who resigned in solidarity with his colleague. Alongside other former OpenAI employees, the duo will lead a new advanced Artificial Intelligence research team at Microsoft.
“We cannot work for or with people who do not have competence”
In the open letter above, you can read in the bold text:
“Your decisions have made obvious the fact that you are incapable of overseeing OpenAI. We cannot work for or with people without the competence, decision-making capacity and care necessary for our mission and its workers.”
Employees demand that both Altman and Greg Brockman, the former chairman, be immediately reinstated to the company. Otherwise, there will be a mass layoff, with promises of employment at Microsoft.
“We, the undersigned, may choose to leave OpenAI and join the recently announced Microsoft subsidiary led by Sam Altman and Greg Brockman. Microsoft has assured us that there are positions available for all OpenAI employees at this subsidiary, should we choose for joining us,” the employees threaten in another part of the letter.
Several professionals who work at OpenAI also posted on the social network X the message “OpenAI is nothing without the people who work there.” One of the people who made the publication was Mira Murati, Director of Technology and chosen as Interim CEO in the two days following Altman’s resignation.
Even at the head of the position, Murati positioned himself in favor of the former CEO’s return. Dismissed two days later, the professional signed the open letter and shared the message, which was responded to by Altman with a heart of gratitude.
The case for Altman’s firing
Imagem: Shutterstock / Dia TV
Sam Altman was one of the founders of OpenAI and played a crucial role in the creation and huge success of ChatGPT generative AI. Last Friday, the Board of Directors chose to fire the then-CEO, alleging that he was not “consistently honest” in his communications.
Over the weekend, Altman returned to the company wearing a “Visitor” badge. After attempts to reverse the decision, then-president Greg Brockman resigned and left along with Altman. On Sunday, both were hired by Microsoft, which holds 49% of OpenAI shares.
Throughout this Monday, the importance and recognition achieved by Altman gained prominence with the support of his former employees. The Board of Directors appears to be facing difficult times.
In addition to the threat of mass dismissal of more than 70% of the company’s employees, Board members could face an investigation led by the newly appointed CEO, Emmett Shear.
Today I got a call inviting me to consider a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: to become the interim CEO of @OpenAI. After consulting with my family and reflecting on it for just a few hours, I accepted. I had recently resigned from my role as CEO of Twitch due to the birth of my…
— Emmett Shear (@eshear) November 20, 2023
Despite accepting the position, Shear stated in a publication on X that he recognizes that Altman’s departure was not a well-managed process. He expressed his intention to carry out an investigation “to delve deeper into the entire process that led to this point.”
“Depending on the results and everything we learn from this, I will drive changes in the organization – including pushing hard for significant changes in management, if necessary,” he stated in his publication.
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