Following the controversial removal of Sam Altman as CEO of OpenAI, Ilya Sutskever, Chief Scientist at OpenAI, has expressed remorse in a recent post. Sutskever is widely believed to be the main instigator behind Altman’s ouster. Despite unsuccessful attempts to bring Altman back to OpenAI, he has now joined Microsoft, a move that is seen as a boost for CEO Satya Nadella and a blow to his former company. This action by Microsoft can be interpreted as a lack of confidence in the OpenAI board. Additionally, former OpenAI President Greg Brockman will also be joining Microsoft. This announcement came shortly after it was confirmed that Altman would not be reinstated by OpenAI. Consequently, OpenAI has experienced a rapid turnover of CEOs, with Altman, Mira Murati (interim CEO), and Emmett Shear (interim CEO) all taking the helm within a few days.
Ilja Sutskever: friend or foe?
Ilja Sutskever took the floor to X and wrote: “I deeply regret my involvement in the board. I never intended to harm OpenAI. I love everything we’ve built together and I’m doing everything I can to unite the company. However, he hasn’t mentioned Altman’s name and it doesn’t help moderate his actions.
How it all happened
Sutskever reportedly texted Sam Altman on Nov. 16 to join Google Meet the next day. According to Brockman’s post on the X platform, “Ilya told Sam that he was fired and that the news will be out very soon.” Just after Altman was fired, Brockman was notified that he was being removed from his position as chairman of the board, but will continue to serve as chairman. However, Brockman also resigned as president in retaliation.
OpenAI walks into an uncertain future with its eyes closed
It is not yet clear how OpenAI will manage to function without Sam Altman and Brockman and many employees expected to leave the company and join Microsoft, but a return to normal operations will be very difficult, if not impossible. The loss of the company’s face especially affects investors who were not told about the upcoming firing, and the same may be reflected in the company’s market value falling.
Satya Nadella’s coup
Microsoft, on the other hand, is sitting pretty. Its stock price, which fell immediately after Altman was fired, has recovered since Nadella’s hiring was announced. The NY Times quoted Macquarie, the bank’s analysts, as saying in a research note: “We believe Nadella may have pulled off his own coup, acquiring the most important part of OpenAI: its ambitious talent pool.”