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Sam Altman won’t return as OpenAI’s CEO

Sam Altman

Sam Altman, the co-founder and former CEO of OpenAI, will not be returning to his role as CEO of the company. This decision comes after a tumultuous period at OpenAI, which saw attempts by investors and some employees to convince the company’s board to rehire Altman. Despite these efforts, Altman has chosen to walk away from negotiations, at least for the time being​​.

The situation at OpenAI became increasingly complex with the board's decision to remove Altman and demote Greg Brockman, the president and co-founder of OpenAI. This decision was met with significant dissatisfaction from various stakeholders, including Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, a major backer and partner of OpenAI. The dissatisfaction extended to threats of a lawsuit against the board's members by OpenAI investors like Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital, and Thrive Capital​​.

Amidst this backdrop, Altman reportedly demanded significant managerial changes and a new board of directors as a condition of his return. His stance was that major shareholders should have a say in OpenAI’s governance. These demands, however, were not met, leading to his decision not to return. The fallout from these events also saw the departure of three senior OpenAI researchers and threats of further walkouts by other staff members if Altman and Brockman were not reinstated​​​​.

In the wake of Altman's decision, OpenAI has appointed Emmett Shear, the co-founder of the video streaming site Twitch, as the interim CEO. Shear was selected for his concern over the existential threats presented by AI and his experience in leading large engineering groups while at Twitch​​.

This series of events has led to instability within OpenAI, impacting its relationship with key stakeholders and causing concern among its employees. The situation has even affected Microsoft's market value, with a notable drop following the upheaval at OpenAI​​. Many OpenAI employees have expressed dissatisfaction with the recent developments, with dozens reportedly announcing their intention to quit the company​​.