However, on Monday, these theories too seemed to have been put aside. In a post on Early in the morning, the board’s new interim CEO, Emmett Shear, wrote that before accepting the job, he asked why Altman was removed. “The board *did not* terminate Sam due to a specific disagreement over security,” he wrote, “their reasoning was completely different from that.” Shear provided no information on the reasoning.
Sutskever himself later appeared to dismiss the possibility that he and the board had acted out of concern that Altman was not taking sufficient care of OpenAI’s technology, when his name appeared among the nearly 500 staff members on a letter threatening to resign if Altman was not reinstated. . Within hours, about 95 percent of the company’s employees had signed up.
Sutskever also wrote in a post on that he deeply regretted his role in the board’s actions, once again appearing to deny the notion that he had had any major security issues. “I deeply regret my participation in the actions of the board of directors. It was never my intention to harm OpenAI. I love everything we have built together and will do everything I can to bring the company together,” he wrote.
On Monday evening, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, whose company has pledged an investment of more than $10 billion in OpenAI, said he also didn’t know why the board acted against Altman. In a Bloomberg television interview, he said no one on OpenAI’s board had spoken to him about any issues. “So I remain confident in Sam, in his leadership and in his abilities and that is why we want to welcome him to Microsoft,” he said.
As of Monday evening, the fourth day of OpenAI’s upheaval, the original reason for the board’s decision to fire Altman remains unclear.
Before being removed as CEO, Altman served on the OpenAI board alongside Brockman, Sutskever and three outsiders: Adam D’Angelo, CEO of Quora who has his own Poe chatbot built in part on OpenAI technology; Tasha McCauley, CEO of GeoSim Systems, and Helen Toner, AI and foreign relations expert at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown. McCauley is a member of the UK board of Effective Ventures, a group affiliated with Effective Altruism, and Toner worked for the US-based effective altruism group, Open Philanthropy.
Altman and his co-founders created OpenAI as a nonprofit counterbalance to corporate AI development labs. Creating a for-profit unit to attract commercial investors in 2019 and launching ChatGPT nearly a year ago, he oversaw its transformation from a quirky research lab into a company that rivals Google and others giants not only scientifically but also on the market.
Earlier this month, Altman capped off that transformation by hosting the company’s first developer conference, where he announced a sort of app store for chatbots. At some point along this trajectory, its board apparently saw reason for concern and decided it needed to act.
Additional reporting by Paresh Dave.