Hundreds of OpenAI employees are threatening to follow Altman to Microsoft unless the board resigns
Hundreds of OpenAI employees, including co-founder and board member Ilya Sutskever, have signed a letter demanding the resignation of either of OpenAI’s board members or those OpenAI employees to join Sam Altman’s new venture at Microsoftaccording to NBCNews.
“Your actions have made it clear that you cannot be in charge of OpenAI,” the letter says. About 667 people have signed the letter. OpenAI has approx. 770 employees.
The letter states that Microsoft has “assured” these employees that they would have jobs at the new subsidiary, should they “choose to join.” “
Among the signatories are some of OpenAI’s top executives. Former interim CEO Mira Murati and OpenAI COO Brad Lightcap are the first two to sign the letter. Murati was named CEO after Altman’s departure but was succeeded by Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear.
Wired first reported the letter on Monday morning.
Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, speaks at The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Tech Live conference in Laguna Beach, California, on October 17, 2023.
Patrick T. Fallon | AFP| Getty Images
In a face around, Sutskever’s name appears as a signature on the letter. He wrote on Monday morning on the X social media platform, formerly known as Twitter, that he “deeply” regretted his involvement in “the actions of the board”.
Several OpenAI employees also voiced their support on social media. “OpenAI is nothing without its people,” the deputies said.
Altman was forced out Friday by the OpenAI board, including Sutskever, who cited unspecified issues with his communications. That prompted backlash from employees and investors, CNBC has previously reported, including Microsoft, Thrive Capital, and Sequoia.
The board then tried to negotiate Altman’s return, but these negotiations were unsuccessful. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced Sunday that Altman and OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman would be joining the company in a new, largely independent venture. Nadella’s announcement also mentioned their “collaborators” joining Microsoft, although the number was not clear.
Microsoft declined to comment on whether it would hire employees who choose to leave OpenAI. OpenAI was not immediately available for comment on the letter.
Here’s the full note, highlight theirs:
“To the OpenAI Board of Directors,
OpenAI is the world’s leading AI company. We, the OpenAI staff, have developed the best models and pushed the field to new limits. Our work on AI safety and governance is shaping global standards. The products we built are used by millions of people around the world. Until now, the company we work for and admire has never been in a stronger position.
The process by which you terminated Sam Altman and removed Greg Brockman from the board has jeopardized this entire operation and undermined our mission and our company. Your behavior has made it clear that you lacked the ability to monitor OpenAI.
When we all unexpectedly learned about your decision, OpenAI’s management team acted quickly to stabilize the company. They listened carefully to your concerns and tried to cooperate with you in every way. Despite many requests for specific facts for your allegations, you have never provided written evidence. They also realized more and more that you were unable to fulfill your obligations, and that you were negotiating in bad faith.
The management team recommended that the most sustainable path forward – the one that would best serve our mission, company, stakeholders, employees and the public – is for you to resign and board with apply a certificate that could lead the company forward in sustainability. . Management worked with you around the clock to find a suitable product. But within two days of your first decision, you again replaced interim CEO Mira Murati against the good of the company. You also told the management team that allowing the company to be destroyed would be “consistent with the mission.”
Your actions have made it obvious that you cannot be in charge of OpenAI. We cannot work for or with people who do not have the ability, judgment and care for our mission and our employees. We, the undersigned, may choose to retire 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 if we choose to join it. We will take this step soon, unless all board members resign, and the board appoints two independent key directors, such as Bret Taylor and Will Hurd, and re-appoints Sam Altman and Greg Brockman.”
– CNBC’s Jordan Novet and Hayden Field contributed to this report.
This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.