About 500 OpenAI employees have signed a letter asking the company's board to step down and reinstate fired CEO Sam Altman, according to reports.
According Wiredstaff at the AI company behind ChatGPT who signed the letter threatened to quit and join Mr. Altman in his new venture at Microsoft unless he was allowed to return to the company.
The report says the letter claims the board's decision to remove Mr. Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman has put the company's work at risk and accuses the board of not having the authority to oversee the company.
It calls on the board to step down and be replaced by two new lead independent directors, and adds that if their demands are not met, those who have signed the letter can choose to resign from the company and join Messrs. Altman and Brockman in their new artificial intelligence research group at Microsoft – which announced that Mr Altman would join the company on Monday.
According to reports, the letter is signed by several senior OpenAI executives, including Ilya Sutskever, the company's chief technology officer and one of the board members at the heart of the decision to initially remove Mr. Altman.
Mr Sutskever has since posted on X, formerly Twitter, that he “deeply regrets” his involvement in the board's action and would “do everything in my power to reunite the company”.
The demands on staff continue an unusual few days for the company, which announced the shock decision to fire Mr Altman on Friday, with the board saying in a statement that it “no longer has confidence in his ability to continue to lead OpenAI,” but did not disclose any specific reasons for his dismissal.
Reports emerged over the weekend suggesting that Mr Altman was in talks with OpenAI to quickly return as chief executive, but those talks were said to have stalled on Sunday, before Microsoft – OpenAI's biggest investor – announced that Mr Altman will join a new advanced artificial intelligence research group. to the company in a post Monday morning.
OpenAI has since offered the CEO role to former Twitch boss Emmett Shear, who said he had agreed to join the company.
Several OpenAI employees took to social media on Monday with the same message: “OpenAI is nothing without its people,” in an early sign of continued discontent within the company.