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Most OpenAI Employees Threaten to Quit Unless Board Resigns

Microsoft apparently has room for everyone.

Image credit: jamesonwu1972, Shutterstock

The OpenAI saga continues. Now, its staff, hundreds of people, threaten to resign if the board of directors doesn't do it first.

The drastic, if not unsurprising, decision was made soon after the board suddenly fired the company's CEO Sam Altman on Friday and replaced him first with Mira Murati, the company’s chief technology officer, and then Emmett Shear, the former chief executive officer of Twitch. According to the bosses, Altman "was not consistently candid in his communications with the board."

However, Altman wasn't unemployed for long: Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella took both him and OpenAI's ex-president Greg Brockman under his wing as leaders of a new advanced AI research team.

As expected, the company's investors, including Microsoft, weren't happy to be in the dark about the whole matter and reportedly pushed back to bring Altman back, but I don't see it happening unless the board is removed. 

But this might just become a reality because most of OpenAI's employees, some sources say 650, others claim 738 out of about 770, have signed a letter saying they'll quit and move to Microsoft unless the board resigns. Apparently, Nadella's company has room for every worker from OpenAI.

"Your actions have made it obvious that you are incapable of overseeing OpenAI. We are unable to work for or with people that lack competence, judgement and care for our mission and employees. We, the undersigned, may choose to resign from OpenAI and join the newly announced Microsoft subsidiary run by Sam Altman and Greg Brockman. Microsoft has assured us that there are positions for all OpenAI employees at this new subsidiary should we choose to join. We will take this step imminently, unless all current board members resign, and the board appoints two new lead independent directors, such as Bret Taylor and Will Hurd, and reinstates Sam Altman and Greg Brockman."

Surprisingly, one of those who signed the letter was Ilya Sutskever, who allegedly led the campaign to remove Altman. On X/Twitter, he then expressed his regret, saying he "never intended to harm OpenAI."

Altman himself stated that his top priority is "to ensure OpenAI continues to thrive." He and Microsoft are "committed to fully providing continuity of operations to our partners and customers," and their new partnership "makes this very doable."

I'd say such a turn of events is not unexpected and I don't see the current board of directors leading OpenAI for longer. Then again, you never know what will happen next, so stay tuned and join our 80 Level Talent platform and our Telegram channel, follow us on InstagramTwitter, and LinkedIn, where we share breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more.

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