A timeline of Sam Altman’s firing from OpenAI — and the fallout


In a dramatic flip of occasions late Friday, ex-Y Combinator president Sam Altman was fired as CEO of AI startup OpenAI, the corporate behind viral AI hits like ChatGPT, GPT-4 and DALL-E 3, by OpenAI’s board of administrators. Then, the corporate’s longtime president and co-founder, Greg Brockman, resigned — as did three senior OpenAI researchers. And the fallout continues.

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It’s a fast-moving scenario that we’re nonetheless attempting to unravel. Little question extra will grow to be clear as time goes on. To make it simpler to observe all that’s occurred within the meantime, although, we’ve put collectively a timeline; we’ll do our greatest to maintain it present.

Timeline of Sam Altman’s firing from OpenAI

November 21

Altman and board in talks

OpenAI’s board of administrators is reportedly in talks with Sam Altman, ex-Y Combinator president and an OpenAI co-founder, to return to OpenAI as CEO as quickly as this week. That’s in keeping with Bloomberg, which in a temporary — citing sources near the matter — stated that discussions are occurring between Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, one present member of the OpenAI board, and Altman — and presumably different board members as nicely.

Board tensions boil over

The New York Instances stories that, earlier than his ousting, Sam Altman made a transfer to push out board member Helen Toner as a result of he thought a paper she had co-written was overly crucial of OpenAI. That, amongst different points, led to OpenAI’s present predicament. Talking of, The Instances signifies that negotiations to rent Altman again proceed — however that one main sticking level remaining is “guardrails” meant to enhance Altman’s communication with the board.

November 20

Altman joins Microsoft

Sam Altman, Greg Brockman and colleagues announce that they’ll be a part of Microsoft to guide a brand new AI analysis workforce. Nadella leaves the door open to different OpenAI staffers, saying that they’ll be given the sources they want ought to they select to affix.

Sutskever’s mea culpa

Sutskever publishes a publish on X suggesting that he regrets his determination to take away Altman and that he’ll do every part in his energy to reinstate Altman as CEO.

Workers threaten to resign

Almost 500 of OpenAI’s roughly 770 workers — together with, remarkably, Sutskever — publish a letter saying that they may give up until the startup’s board resigns and reappoints the ousted Altman. Later Monday, that quantity climbed to over 650.

Altman and Brockman contemplating return

As reported by The Verge, Altman’s transfer to Microsoft isn’t a finished deal — and each Altman and Brockman are nonetheless open to returning to OpenAI. That’s, if the remaining board members who initially fired him step apart.

OpenAI board considers merger

OpenAI’s board of administrators approached Dario Amodei, the co-founder and CEO of rival large-language mannequin developer Anthropic, a couple of potential merger of the 2 firms, The Data stories. The strategy was a part of an effort by OpenAI to steer Amodei to interchange Altman as CEO — however Amodei shortly turned down the CEO provide.

November 19

Altman to fulfill at OpenAI HQ

In line with The Data, Altman is anticipated to fulfill at OpenAI’s San Francisco headquarters as executives at OpenAI push to have him reinstated as CEO. Brockman was invited to affix — however it’s unclear whether or not he’ll take execs up on that invitation.

Board negotiations hit a snag

Bloomberg stories that Lightcap and Murati, amongst others, are pushing the board to reinstate Altman. However unsurprisingly, the administrators are resisting. As of noon Sunday, the board hadn’t resigned out of concern over who might change them, and had been vetting candidates. One attainable new addition may very well be Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor.

Altman out, Shear in

Altman received’t be returning as CEO, in keeping with a report in The Data citing an inner memo despatched by Sutskever. Because the seek for a brand new everlasting CEO continues, OpenAI has appointed Emmett Shear, the co-founder of video streaming website Twitch, as interim CEO — changing Murati.

November 18

“Not … in response to malfeasance”

In an inner memo obtained by Axios despatched Saturday morning, OpenAI COO Brad Lightcap stated yesterday’s announcement “took [the management team] without warning” and that administration had had “a number of conversations with the board to attempt to higher perceive the explanations and course of behind their determination.” Discussions had been ongoing as of Saturday morning, per the memo.

“We are able to say definitively that the board’s determination was not made in response to malfeasance or something associated to our monetary, enterprise, security, or safety/privateness practices,” Lightcap added. “This was a breakdown in communication between Sam and the board … We nonetheless share your considerations about how the method has been dealt with, are working to resolve the scenario, and can present updates as we’re ready.”

OpenAI’s funding in jeopardy

The deliberate sale of OpenAI worker shares that might worth the startup at about $86 billion may very well be in jeopardy. The Data, talking to 3 sources previously with the corporate, stories that they now not anticipate the sale — led by Thrive Capital — to occur, or, if it does, to return with a lesser valuation due to the current flip of occasions.

Altman planning new enterprise

Altman has been telling traders that he’s planning to launch a brand new enterprise, in accordance to The Data. Brockman is anticipated to affix the hassle — no matter type it takes. (Probably an AI chip startup.)

Buyers pushing for Altman’s return

Buyers — livid on the flip of occasions — are reportedly exerting stress on OpenAI’s board to reinstate Altman, going as far as to recruit Microsoft. Nadella is alleged to be sympathetic.

Board agrees to reverse course — in precept

The Verge stories that the board agreed in precept to resign and to permit Altman and Brockman to return. It waffled, nonetheless, lacking a deadline yesterday by which many OpenAI staffers had been set to go away the corporate. Altman is alleged to be ambivalent about coming again and asking for “vital” governance adjustments.

November 17

Brockman demoted

Brockman says he obtained a textual content from Sutskever shortly after midday on Friday asking for a fast name. After sending a Google Meet hyperlink, Brockman was informed that he was being faraway from the board as chairman “however was important to the corporate and would retain his position” as president, and that Altman had been fired.

Altman’s firing publicly introduced

OpenAI revealed a publish on its weblog saying the chief shake-up. The corporate’s administration workforce was conscious shortly after.

All-hands assembly

OpenAI held an all-hands assembly Friday afternoon throughout which Sutskever defended Altman’s ouster. He dismissed recommendations that pushing Altman out amounted to a “hostile takeover,” and claimed that it was vital to guard OpenAI’s mission of “making AI useful to humanity.”

Microsoft releases a press release

Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, a significant investor in — and accomplice with — OpenAI, revealed a assertion about Altman’s firing:

As you noticed at Microsoft Ignite this week, we’re persevering with to quickly innovate for this period of AI, with over 100 bulletins throughout the total tech stack from AI techniques, fashions and instruments in Azure, to Copilot. Most significantly, we’re dedicated to delivering all of this to our prospects whereas constructing for the longer term. We have now a long-term settlement with OpenAI with full entry to every part we have to ship on our innovation agenda and an thrilling product roadmap; and stay dedicated to our partnership, and to Mira and the workforce. Collectively, we’ll proceed to ship the significant advantages of this expertise to the world.”

Brockman quits

Brockman introduced his resignation from OpenAI, citing “right now’s information.” After sending a memo internally, he revealed the textual content on X.

Senior OpenAI researchers resign

Three senior OpenAI researchers resign after Brockman, together with the director of analysis Jakub Pachocki and head of preparedness Aleksander Madry.

November 16

Ilya Sutskever schedules name with Altman

In line with a publish on X (previously Twitter) from Brockman, Ilya Sutskever, the chief scientist at OpenAI and a co-founder, texted Altman on Thursday night about scheduling a Friday midday name.

Murati informed of Altman’s firing

Brockman alleges that Mira Murati, OpenAI’s CTO and now interim CEO, was knowledgeable on Thursday evening that Altman could be fired.


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