Reacting to the departure of ChatGPT developer Sam Altman from OpenAI, 700 employees threaten OpenAI with "mass resignation".
On Monday, a mass movement unfolded at OpenAI as over 730 employees signed an open letter, issuing a warning to depart unless the board steps down and reinstates Sam Altman as CEO, alongside cofounder and former president Greg Brockman. Altman was controversially fired by the board on Friday.
“The process through which you terminated Sam Altman and removed Greg Brockman from the board has jeopardized all of this work and undermined our mission and company,” the letter reads.
Remarkably, the letter’s signees include Ilya Sutskever, the company’s chief scientist and a member of its board, who has been blamed for coordinating the boardroom coup against Altman in the first place.
“I deeply regret my participation in the board’s actions. I never intended to harm OpenAI. I love everything we’ve built together and I will do everything I can to reunite the company,” Sutskever emphasized.
Microsoft has now created a special “advanced AI research team” to house a number of former OpenAI employees, with Altman offered a CEO title to lead the division. It’s an unusual move for Microsoft outside of acquisitions, as the company typically only uses the CEO title for the leaders of big divisions like Microsoft Gaming or acquired companies like LinkedIn and GitHub. OpenAI employees have made it clear that Microsoft is treating this like a big acquisition, assuring existing employees that there are open roles to join Altman and his team at Microsoft.
Nadella appeared to leave the door open to any OpenAI employees eager to jump ship, adding Altman’s new Microsoft subsidiary.
“We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success,” Nadella emphasized.
Nadella also said on X that the new venture would be “setting a new pace for innovation,” suggesting a more aggressive approach than the OpenAI board was apparently comfortable with.