Sam Altman-OpenAI Saga Could Conclude With Drastic Changes: Here’s Why
Negotiations at OpenAI, the AI start-up behind ChatGPT, to bring back recently-ousted Chief Executive Officer Sam Altman continued into Sunday evening, but there were disagreements over the makeup of the company’s board, according to people familiar with the talks.
Altman was seen at the OpenAI headquarters in San Francisco on Sunday afternoon. He took to X, previously known as Twitter, to upload a photo of himself wearing a guest identification badge, writing: “First and last time I ever wear one of these.”
Microsoft Could Take A Seat On OpenAI Board
OpenAI’s board of directors has an atypical structure. The organisation started as a non-profit before transforming itself into a for-profit company. Before Altman’s ouster, OpenAI had six board members, including him and Greg Brockman who has quit in solidarity with Altman.
The for-profit company still answers to the non-profit board. As a result, the organisation’s investors have had no official say in what happens to the start-up or who leads it. Microsoft remains OpenAI’s biggest backer, with a stake of nearly $10 billion.
The Satya Nadella-led tech giant is reportedly planning to take a seat on the board, while another report claimed OpenAI employees had given the company an ultimatum to bring Altman back. But the company missed its deadline, increasing the risk of a mass exodus of employees.
Altman’s Reinstatement Is Not An Inevitability
Altman’s return would likely include major changes to the board. But the members of the board have not yet agreed to what a restructured board of directors might look like – nor is Altman’s reinstatement an inevitability, according to the people familiar with the matter.
The convoluting Sam Altman-OpenAI saga has drawn attention to a longtime rift in the AI community between people who believe the technology is the biggest business opportunity in a generation and others who worry that moving too fast could be risky.