The ongoing Sam Altman-OpenAI saga took a surprising turn on Monday when Altman was seen at the OpenAI building, sparking rumors of a potential return. Altman further added to the speculation by sharing a picture on his X account, accompanied by the caption “first and last time I ever wear one of these.” There is a possibility that Altman might indeed make a comeback to OpenAI, as investors have reportedly urged the board to bring him back, much to the surprise and frustration of the company’s employees. If Altman does return, Microsoft, an investor in OpenAI, may also secure a seat on the board.
Microsoft’s board role in OpenAI
Citing two people familiar with the matter, The Information said Microsoft plans to take a seat on the board if the ousted CEO returns to OpenAI. For the uninitiated, Microsoft is the largest supporter of OpenAI with a share of nearly $10 billion.
According to a Bloomberg report, the company led by Satya Nadella is also looking to encourage OpenAI to bring back Sam Altman as CEO, alongside other investors such as Thrive Capital and Tiger Global Management. And if Altman returns, Microsoft reportedly plans to take a seat on the board — either on OpenAI’s board or as a non-voting board observer. Investors are also said to be pressuring the company to change the board, even as OpenAI executives are considering their resignation.
On the other hand, another report claimed that OpenAI employees had given the company an ultimatum to bring in Sam Altman, but the company didn’t meet its 5:00 PM PT deadline, which could lead to a potential mass employee exodus.
Sam Altman fired – What happened
On November 17th, the sudden announcement of the firing of OpenAI Sam Altman sent shock waves throughout the tech industry. According to the company, the reason for his termination was that Altman was not “consistently honest in his communications with the board.” The news came as a surprise, as just days earlier, Altman was on stage at the first-ever OpenAI Developer Day to announce new features coming to ChatGPT, its artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, and the company’s other AI efforts. Shortly after the announcement, the company’s CEO and founder Greg Brockman also resigned, while CTO Mira Murati was announced as interim CEO.