According to sources with knowledge of this matter, Sam Altman and members of the OpenAI Board, as well as the interim CEO of the company, have begun negotiations in order to reinstate the ousted CEO of the artificial intelligence startup that he cofounded.
The people who spoke to us declined to identify themselves because they were not authorized to speak publicly. They also said that discussions are taking place between Altman, Emmett Shear, and Adam D’Angelo. One of the people who spoke said that some OpenAI investors are also involved in the talks, and many of them are pushing for his reinstatement.
According to one person, Altman would return as CEO of the business. Altman could become a member of a transitional board in one scenario, according to one person. Multiple people have said that former Salesforce Inc. co CEO Bret Taylor may also be a member of a new board.
The fact that the board is in contact with Altman is a major development, as until Monday the directors had largely refused engagement with the executive they dismissed on Friday, according to several sources.
Bloomberg reported that Thrive capital, Khosla Ventures, and Tiger Global Management are among the OpenAI shareholders who want Altman reinstated. Another person confirmed that the venture capital firm Sequoia Capital was working with the group.
Anna Makanju, Vice President for Global Affairs, sent a memo on Monday to the staff, saying that the company was engaged in “intense conversations” with Altman, Shear, and the board to unify their company. The message was sent after the majority employees had threatened to leave if Altman wasn’t reinstated.
One person said that there is a push for the chaos around the leadership of the company to be resolved before Thanksgiving so employees aren’t uncertain about their futures during the holiday.
Microsoft Corp., OpenAI’s largest investor a data-component, Satya Nadella, CEO of the company, has publicly stated that he was given no explanation. Satya Nadella is the CEO of OpenAI’s largest investor Microsoft Corp.. He has publicly stated that he was given a no explanationZ.
People familiar with the situation say that even CEO Shear was left in the dark. He told those close to OpenAI he didn’t intend to stay if the board couldn’t explain to him clearly in writing why Altman was suddenly fired.
The board of the company consisted until Friday of Altman and President Greg Brockman. Chief Scientist Ilya Suksker, Quora, Inc. D’Angelo and tech entrepreneur Tasha McCauley were also on it. Helen Toner was director of strategy for Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology. Brockman resigned from the company after Altman’s departure.
People with knowledge of this matter have said that Airbnb Inc. CEO Brian Chesky is representing Altman in his negotiations with board members, while Shear represents D’Angelo, and the board. Taylor, who was also a member of the board at Twitter prior to its purchase by Elon Musk is taking a more neutral role during mediations.
OpenAI has declined to comment about the negotiations.