Exodus of OpenAI Employees Endangers Future of Company

Along with most of the company's employees, a board member who was involved in Sam Altman's dismissal as CEO demanded that the decision be reversed.

More than 700 out of 770 workers of the high-profile AI startup OpenAI signed a letter on Monday threatening to quit for Microsoft unless the reinstatement of the fired CEO, Sam Altman, is immediate. This puts the survival of the firm in question.

As per three sources familiar with the situation, one of the board members who had earlier voted to remove Mr. Altman from his position on Friday changed his mind on Monday and signed the letter that was posted on an internal message board.

Additionally, Ilya Sutskever, a member of the board, expressed his "deep regret for my participation in the board's actions" on the social media site X, which was previously known as Twitter.

A tumultuous weekend of corporate maneuvering ensued following Mr. Altman's dismissal by the four-member board, which stated he had not been honest with it without specifying how. Ultimately, Mr. Altman joined Microsoft to launch a new artificial intelligence project. With its $13 billion investment, Microsoft effectively owns 49% of OpenAI.

According to the staff's letter requesting Mr. Altman's return to work, Microsoft had promised OpenAI workers that they could all find work at its new artificial intelligence firm.

As a result of the chaos, one of the most rapidly expanding corporations in Silicon Valley's history is uncertain of its future. Hundreds of new businesses were born out of OpenAI's technologies during a period when the sector was experiencing widespread layoffs. Prospects are a major worry for many of those companies right now.

"This is the disaster of the decade," remarked Gaurav Oberoi, creator of the startup Lexion, which uses OpenAI to make sales, legal, and vendor contracts easier for businesses. "They learned the hard way how to ruin their own reputation and a substantial amount of value in a single day."

Mr. Shear announced his intention to retain an independent investigator to examine the circumstances behind Mr. Altman's termination in an early Monday post on X, which spanned 530 words. As part of his efforts to reassemble the company's executive team, he promised to solicit feedback from workers, business associates, and shareholders.

Mr. Shear, a former CEO of Twitch, stated, "I believe it may take longer than a month to achieve true progress." Later that day, Mr. Shear had a conversation with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

While appearing on Bloomberg TV on Monday, Mr. Nadella made it clear to Mr. Shear what he wanted. "Hey, listen, we are still fully dedicated to OpenAI's goals and plans, and they know they can rely on us," Mr. Nadella stated.

Besides Mr. Altman, other prominent OpenAI personnel have joined Microsoft's new A.I. company. After Mr. Altman was fired, OpenAI president Greg Brockman left in solidarity. Mr. Brockman announced to X on Monday morning that he and Mr. Altman will be joined at Microsoft by three OpenAI researchers: Jakub Pachocki, Szymon Sidor, and Aleksander Madry.

According to two OpenAI workers, the board's dismissal of Mr. Altman upended the company's personnel. The two alleged employees secretly shared dark jokes and memes regarding HBO's "Succession" power conflicts. Private group text conversations and video conferences helped many organize and commiserate.

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