OpenAI staff are reportedly unhappy that its board of directors has fired founder and former CEO Sam Altman. According to a social media post by tech podcast host Kara Swisher, employees sent a letter to the board demanding the members’ resignation. The publication claims that 505 of the company’s 700 employees signed the letter.
—Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) November 20, 2023
OpenAI is the developer of the artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot ChatGPT, which has more than 100 million active users, according to statistics site ToolTester.
Swisher posted a copy of the letter, which accuses the board of undermining OpenAI’s mission. “We, the employees of OpenAI, have developed the best models and taken the field to new frontiers,” he says. But “the process by which they fired Sam Altman and removed Greg Brockman from the board of directors has jeopardized all of this work and undermined our mission and our company.”
The letter suggests that “the most stabilizing path forward” would be “to [the board] resign and establish a qualified board that can take the company forward with stability.”
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According to the letter, employees have attempted to investigate why Altman was fired, but have been unable to get a clear answer from the board, which “has never provided any written evidence” to confirm their allegations.
The OpenAI board fired Altman on November 17 for allegedly “not always being truthful in his communications with the board.” Brockman was also removed as president the same day. Some investors quickly protested his dismissal and called for his reinstatement. On November 20, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that Altman and Brockman had been hired at Microsoft to head a new artificial intelligence team.