Everything that has happened since OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman was abruptly ousted as CEO is detailed below.
OpenAI, an artificial intelligence (AI) business, announced on Nov. 17 that it had ousted CEO Sam Altman — a move that was repeated on Nov. 19 with the hiring of Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear as its new CEO.
In the days since the tech industry has been reeling, Altman's colleagues have rallied to his side, then-OpenAI president and co-founder Greg Brockman has also resigned, and OpenAI's board of directors has begun talks to perhaps reinstate Altman despite massive public reaction from shareholders and employees.
So far, here's what's happened:
Thursday, November 16th
Ilya Sutskever arranges a meeting with Altman
According to Brockman's X (previously Twitter) post, OpenAI chief scientist Ilya Sutskever messaged Altman on Thursday evening to plan a meeting for Friday afternoon.
He also stated that OpenAI's chief technology officer, Mira Murati, was informed that Altman would be sacked that evening.
Friday, November 17th
Brockman informed Altman that he had been fired
Sutskever texted Brockman shortly after lunchtime on Nov. 17, asking him to get on a call. After joining the conversation a few minutes later, he was informed that he would be removed from OpenAI's board of directors but would continue to serve as president and that Altman had been sacked.
Altman has been openly dismissed by OpenAI
OpenAI announced in a blog post that Altman had been sacked for not being "consistently candid in his communications with the board," and that Murati will serve as temporary CEO.
Microsoft published a comment regarding OpenAI
Microsoft, the largest investor, and partner in OpenAI, published a statement in response to Altman's dismissal, with CEO Satya Nadella attempting to calm the market's anxieties and reassuring investors that Altman's dismissal would have no significant impact on the collaboration going ahead.
"We have a long-term deal with OpenAI that gives us full access to everyone we need to move forward with our innovation agenda and an exciting product plan, and we remain committed to our partnership, as well as Mira and the team."
Brockman has resigned
Following the public revelation of Altman's departure, Brockman resigned as well.
Resignations pile up
Following Brockman's resignation, a number of senior OpenAI officials announced their own resignations, including the company's head of readiness, Aleksander Madfry, and director of research, Jakub Pachocki.
Saturday, November 18th
Management was taken aback by the shock of the termination
According to an internal document obtained by Axios on Nov. 18, OpenAI chief operating officer Brad Lightcap stated that the revelation caught the whole management team off guard.
"We can confirm clearly that the board's decision was not based on misconduct or anything connected to our financial, commercial, safety, or security/privacy procedures." This was a communication breakdown between Sam and the board."
Altman is planning a new venture
According to The Information, Altman has already begun discussions with investors about a new AI-related firm. Brockman is anticipated to support Altman in any pursuit he pursues.
Microsoft is "furious" about Altman's departure and wants the board to bring him back
According to Bloomberg, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was "furious" with the decision and began lobbying the board to explore reinstalling Altman as CEO on November 18.
The board of directors has agreed to evaluate Altman's position
On November 18, The Verge reported that OpenAI's board of directors "had agreed in principle" to resign and rehire both Altman and Brockman as CEO and president.
Multiple sources said Sutskever played an "integral role" in Altman's firing, implying a schism between the charitable and for-profit sections of the organization.
Sunday, November 19th,
Altman is at OpenAI ahead of the decision deadline
Altman posted a photo on X on Nov. 19 at OpenAI's headquarters with a guest credential, as the deadline for a decision on his reinstatement as CEO was scheduled at 5 p.m. PST.
According to Bloomberg, bringing Altman back as CEO may necessitate the board issuing an apology as well as a statement exonerating him of wrongdoing.
Microsoft eyes on a board seat as insiders press for Altman's return
According to The Information, if Altman returns, Microsoft is looking for either a board seat or a board observer post with no voting power. Bloomberg previously reported that OpenAI's senior brass, including interim CEO Murati, chief strategy officer Jason Kwon, and COO Lightcap, are lobbying for Altman's return.
Emmett Shear, the former CEO of Twitch, has been named the new CEO of OpenAI
The Information reported in the United States late on November 19 that the board of directors was unwilling to make a compromise and instead chose Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear as the new CEO, while interim CEO Murati planned to reinstate both Altman and Brockman in their respective roles at the company.
Monday, November 20th
Satya Nadella hires Sam Altman to join Microsoft's artificial intelligence research unit.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella appointed former OpenAI team member CEO Sam Altman and president Greg Brockman to lead a new advanced AI research team.
Shortly after Nadella's declaration, Altman retweeted the post with the words "the mission continues," implying his dedication to the advancement of AI technology.
Sam Altman's ouster as OpenAI CEO was a surprise move that has had a significant impact on the company. The board's decision was controversial, and it is unclear what the long-term implications of it will be. However, with the appointment of Emmett Shear as CEO, OpenAI has a strong leader who can help the company navigate the challenges ahead.