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505 of 700 OpenAI Employees Demand Board Resign Following Sam Altman Firing, Threaten to Walk

Julia Smith
Last updated: | 2 min read

505 OpenAI employees have signed a letter demanding the board of directors at the artificial intelligence company step down following the sudden ousting of co-founder, Sam Altman, on Friday.

Over 500 OpenAI employees threaten to walk

Kara Swisher, a podcaster for New York Magazine, tweeted the signed employee declaration on Monday morning. In it, hundreds of staff threaten to leave their positions for a new Microsoft AI subsidiary spearheaded by Altman and Greg Brockman, another co-founder of OpenAI.

CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, tweeted out that his organization hired Altman and Brockman “to lead a new advanced AI research team.”

“We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources they need for their success,” wrote Nadella. 

“Your actions have made it obvious that you are incapable of overseeing OpenAl,” the letter reads in part. “We are unable to work for or with people that lack competence, judgment and care for our mission and employees.”

Moreover, the employees state that they “will take this step imminently, unless all current board members resign” and it “reinstates Sam Altman and Greg Brockman.”

A turbulent few days

Altman was fired from the company he helped develop Friday, with the board of directors alleging he “was not consistently candid in his communications.”

“The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI,” read an announcement Friday from the company. 

Brockman, who was serving as president of OpenAI, quit on Friday following the news.

“I continue to believe in the mission of creating safe AGI that benefits all of humanity,” Brockman wrote in a message to the company.

“I loved my time at OpenAI,” tweeted Altman. “It was transformative for me personally, and hopefully the world a little bit. Most of all I loved working with such talented people.”

What comes next for the troubled company

Emmett Shear, co-founder of live streaming service, Twitch, will take over as interim CEO. 

Previously, OpenAI’s chief technology officer, Mira Murati was elected to the position before she signed her name alongside other members of staff threatening to walk unless Brockman and Altman were reinstated.

Furthermore, Nadella stated that Microsoft would continue its collaboration with OpenAI while simultaneously collaborating with Altman and Brockman.

“We look forward to getting to know Emmett Shear and OAI’s new leadership team and working with them,” Nadella wrote. 

On Monday morning, OpenAI board member, Ilya Sutskever, tweeted his remorse over their decision.

“I deeply regret my participation in the board’s actions,” Sutskever wrote. “I never intended to harm OpenAI. I love everything we’ve built together and I will do everything I can to reunite the company.”