Negotiations regarding the reinstatement of co-founder and former CEO Sam Altman at OpenAI have reportedly collapsed. Recent reports from The Information and Bloomberg indicate that the board has chosen Emmett Shear, Altman’s fellow Twitch co-founder, as OpenAI’s new interim CEO. The appointment was purportedly internally announced by co-founder and board director Ilya Sutskever.
Altman’s initial departure from OpenAI was attributed to a “breakdown in communication between Sam and the board,” as stated in a remarkably candid internal staff memo published by Axios. Following this news, key members, including co-founder Greg Brockman (ousted as the chairman of the board), and several senior researchers resigned. Speculation suggests they might join Altman in his rumored ventures, which include the development of an AI chip to rival NVIDIA and the creation of AI-centric hardware in collaboration with former Apple designer Jony Ive.
The departure of Altman may not stand alone, as a separate report from The Information indicates that “dozens” of OpenAI employees have internally announced their intention to leave the company. Some have expressed interest in joining a potential new startup led by Altman, while others may consider offers from rival companies, including Google, seeking to attract skilled personnel.
Reports suggest that the board had considered reversing Altman’s firing, but according to an earlier Bloomberg report, Altman sought the resignation of the existing board and a public apology from OpenAI, conditions that did not materialize. Questions linger about whether those who left with Altman will return to OpenAI and the potential impact of these unusual events on the development of GPT-5 and other related projects.