Turmoil has engulfed the company behind ChatGPT after hundreds of OpenAI staff members threatened to quit en masse unless the board overseeing the business reinstates its ousted chief executive, Sam Altman, and steps down, APA reports citing The Guardian.
In an open letter, nearly all of OpenAI’s 700 employees demanded the resignation of the board and said they may walk out if Altman is not brought back.
Altman was fired on Friday in a move that shocked Silicon Valley, riled the company’s employees and put rival tech companies on alert for a talent exodus.
Monday’s letter to OpenAI’s four remaining board directors said: “Your actions have made it obvious that you are incapable of overseeing OpenAI. We are unable to work for or with people that lack competence, judgment and care for our mission and employees.” The board’s members have yet to comment publicly.
The letter added that the signatories could join Altman and OpenAI’s former president Greg Brockman at Microsoft after the US tech company announced on Monday it had hired the duo to head a new AI research unit. On Monday evening, however, the Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, said he was open to Altman staying at OpenAI or joining Microsoft. Either way, the executive told Bloomberg TV, OpenAI’s governance structure needed to change. Microsoft is OpenAI’s biggest shareholder.
“We, the undersigned, may choose to resign from OpenAI and join the newly announced Microsoft subsidiary run by Sam Altman and Greg Brockman,” the employees wrote. “We will take this step imminently, unless all current board members resign … and [reinstate] Sam Altman and Greg Brockman.” The letter was first reported by the tech magazine Wired and the journalist Kara Swisher.
After the letter became public, OpenAI employees began tweeting “OpenAI is nothing without its people” in a show of solidarity. One AI researcher, Noam, wrote on X: “Everyone at @OpenAI is united. This is not a civil war. Unless Sam and Greg are brought back, there will be no OpenAI left to govern.”