Hundreds of OpenAI employees are calling for the resignation of the board of directors of the company that developed ChatGPT and are threatening to walk out after a tumultuous weekend that began with the surprise firing of CEO Sam Altman and ended with Altman’s hiring by Microsoft, CNN reported, quoted by Financial Tribune.
The more than 500 employees accused OpenAI’s board of failing to provide sufficient evidence for allegations that Altman was not forthcoming with the board and “negotiated in bad faith” with the company’s executive management.
“Your actions have demonstrated that you are incapable of leading OpenAI,” the officials wrote. “We are unable to work for or with people who lack competence, judgment and concern for our mission and employees.”
The employees also warned that they would “inevitably” follow Altman to Microsoft unless the board resigns and reinstates Altman and Greg Brockman, the former president of OpenAI, who was also removed from the board.
Signatories include Mira Muratti, who was named by the board as Altman’s interim successor, as well as Ilya Sutzkever, OpenAI’s co-founder, chief scientist and board member, who was reported to have played a role in Altman’s firing. Muratti’s promotion has since been replaced by the appointment of new interim CEO Emmett Shear, the 40-year-old co-founder of live streaming company Twitch.
Satskever published an apology in X acknowledging his contribution to the leadership crisis, which appears to have revolved around tensions between Altman and the board over the pace and scope of AI development.
“I deeply regret my involvement in the board’s actions,” he said. “I never intended to harm OpenAI. I love everything we’ve built together and I’ll do everything I can to bring the company together.”
The letter highlights internal disagreements at OpenAI that have become public since Altman’s firing, and raises further doubts about the fate of OpenAI’s three non-employee board members. That list includes Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, tech entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, and Helen Toner, director of Basic Research Strategy and Grants at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technologies.
The letter claims that while trying to deal with the fallout from Altman’s firing, board members “informed the leadership team that allowing the company to be destroyed would be consistent with OpenAI’s mission to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity.”
The rebuke from some of OpenAI’s most senior officials also underscores Altman’s loyal following and the possibility that Microsoft could take advantage of the situation.
“Microsoft has assured us that there are positions available for all OpenAI employees,” the letter added.