Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced Monday that ousted OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, along with co-founder Greg Brockman, will join Microsoft's new group of advanced artificial intelligence researchers.
Brockman, the former president and co-founder of OpenAI, resigned Friday following Altman's firing, according to international media reports.
Meanwhile, tech outlets on Monday published what they say is a letter from some of OpenAI's most senior staff threatening to leave en masse and follow Altman to Microsoft unless the company's board is replaced.
“Your actions have made it clear that you cannot oversee OpenAI,” the letter said.
The signatories included the company's chief scientist, Ilya Sutzkever, and even one member of the four-member board that ousted Altman.
Microsoft is a major business partner of OpenAI and has invested billions of dollars in the startup and helped provide the computing power to run its AI systems.
“We remain committed to our partnership with OpenAI,” Microsoft's Nadella said when he announced that Altman would join the company. “We look forward to meeting and working with Emmett Shear and the new leadership team at OAI.”
On Monday, OpenAI named Emmett Shear as interim CEO, taking over for Altman. Shire was previously the CEO of social media company Twitch.
The company made further headlines over the weekend by initially announcing that Mira Murat would take over Altman's role, then demoting it again and leaving the top job again.
The tech world was shocked by Altman's firing at OpenAI. He and the company gained notoriety last year with the launch of a new large language model, ChatGPT, and other products such as the image-generating AI Dall-E.
Many employees were also blindsided by the sudden change in management.
Big investors demanded its restoration. However, the board will stand by its decision, saying it was “the only way to move forward and protect OpenAI's mission.”
“Simply put, Sam's conduct and lack of transparency in his dealings with the board undermined the board's ability to effectively oversee the company as it was charged with,” the board said in a memo.
Investors said Altman's sudden departure could lead to a talent drain from the company and affect an upcoming $86 billion stock sale.