Majority of OpenAI staff threaten to quit and join Microsoft unless current board resigns after shock ouster of former chief Sam Altman
The majority of OpenAI’s staff, including senior executives, have threatened to quit unless the firm’s not-for-profit board resigns over the shock ouster of former chief executive Sam Altman on Friday.
In a letter on Monday the employees question the board’s competence and note that Microsoft has offered them all positions.
“We are unable to work for or with people that lack competence, judgment and care for our mission and employees,” the letter reads.
Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella announced overnight that he had hired Altman and former OpenAI president Greg Brockman to lead an AI research team.
Nadella said the two would be joining Microsoft “along with colleagues”.
In their letter, the OpenAI employees threaten to join Microsoft en masse.
“Microsoft has assured us that there are positions for all OpenAI employees at this new subsidiary should we choose to join,” it reads.
“We will take this step imminently, unless all current board members resign, and the board appoints two new lead independent directors such as Bret Taylor and Will Hurd, and reinstates Sam Altman and Greg Brockman.”
Taylor is the former chief of Salesforce while Will Hurd is a politician and former OpenAI board member.
The letter is signed by more than 500 of OpenAI’s 770 staff, including co-founder Ilya Sutskever, himself a board member and reportedly one of the main forces behind Altman’s sacking.
Sutskever wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday that he regretted his part in the sacking.
“I deeply regret my participation in the board’s actions,” he wrote.
“I never intended to harm OpenAI. I love everything we’ve built together and I will do everything I can to reunite the company.”
Former Twitch chief executive Emmett Shear, appointed on Sunday as interim chief of OpenAI, has promised to launch an independent probe into the sacking and to push for governance changes if necessary.