OpenAI has appointed Emmett Shear, a former chief executive of Amazon’s streaming platform Twitch, as its new CEO despite pressure from Microsoft and other major investors to reinstate Altman.
The startup’s board sacked Altman on Friday, with US media citing concerns that he was underestimating the dangers of its tech and leading the company away from its stated mission — claims his successor has denied.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wrote on X that Altman “will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team,” along with OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman and other colleagues.
Altman shot to fame with the launch of ChatGPT last year, which ignited a race to advance AI research and development, as well as billions being invested in the sector.
His sacking triggered several other high-profile departures from the company, as well as a reported push by investors to bring him back.
“We are going to build something new & it will be incredible. The mission continues,” Brockman said, tagging former director of research Jakub Pachocki, AI risk evaluation head Aleksander Madry, and longtime researcher Szymon Sidor.
But OpenAI stood by its decision in a memo sent to employees on Sunday night, saying “Sam’s behaviour and lack of transparency… undermined the board’s ability to effectively supervise the company,” The New York Times reported.
‘Badly’ handled sacking
Shear confirmed his appointment as OpenAI’s interim CEO in a post on X on Monday, while also denying reports that Altman had been fired over safety concerns regarding the use of AI technology.
“Today I got a call inviting me to consider a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: to become the interim CEO of @OpenAI. After consulting with my family and reflecting on it for just a few hours, I accepted,” he wrote.
“Before I took the job, I checked on the reasoning behind the change. The board did not remove Sam over any specific disagreement on safety, their reasoning was completely different from that.”
“It’s clear that the process and communications around Sam’s removal has been handled very badly, which has seriously damaged our trust,” Shear added.
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