Tons of of OpenAI employees, including co-founder and board member Ilya Sutskever, have signed a letter demanding that either OpenAI’s remaining board members resign or those OpenAI employees will join Sam Altman’s recent enterprise at Microsoft, in accordance with NBCNews.
“Your actions have made it obvious that you simply are incapable of overseeing OpenAI,” the letter says. About 667 people have signed the letter. OpenAI has about 770 employees.
The letter says that Microsoft has “assured” those employees that they might have jobs at the brand new subsidiary, should they “select to hitch.”
Signatories include a few of OpenAI’s most senior executives. Former interim CEO Mira Murati and OpenAI COO Brad Lightcap are the primary two signatories on the letter. Murati was appointed as CEO following Altman’s exit but was then succeeded by Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear.
Wired first reported on the letter Monday morning.
Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, speaks during The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Tech Live conference in Laguna Beach, California, on Oct. 17, 2023.
Patrick T. Fallon | AFP | Getty Images
In an about-face, Sutskever’s name appears as a signature on the letter. He wrote Monday morning on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, that he “deeply” regretted his participation within the “board’s actions.”
Multiple OpenAI employees voiced their support on social media as well. “OpenAI is nothing without its people,” the missives said.
Altman was forced out Friday by OpenAI’s board, including Sutskever, which cited unspecified issues together with his communications. That prompted a backlash from employees and investors, CNBC has previously reported, including Microsoft, Thrive Capital, and Sequoia.
The board then attempted to barter Altman’s return, but those talks were unsuccessful. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Sunday announced that Altman and fellow OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman would join the corporate in a recent, largely independent enterprise. Nadella’s announcement also referred to their “colleagues” joining Microsoft, although the number wasn’t clear.
Microsoft declined to comment on whether it will hire employees who select to depart OpenAI. OpenAI wasn’t immediately available to comment on the letter.
Here’s the complete note, emphasis theirs:
“To the Board of Directors at OpenAI,
OpenAI is the world’s leading AI company. We, the workers of OpenAI, have developed one of the best models and pushed the sphere to recent frontiers. Our work on AI safety and governance shapes global norms. The products we built are utilized by hundreds of thousands of individuals all over the world. Until now, the corporate we work for and cherish has never been in a stronger position.
The method through which you terminated Sam Altman and removed Greg Brockman from the board has jeopardized all of this work and undermined our mission and company. Your conduct has made it clear you probably did not have the competence to oversee OpenAI.
After we all unexpectedly learned of your decision, the leadership team of OpenAI acted swiftly to stabilize the corporate. They rigorously listened to your concerns and tried to cooperate with you on all grounds. Despite many requests for specific facts on your allegations, you will have never provided any written evidence. In addition they increasingly realized you weren’t able to carrying out your duties, and were negotiating in bad faith.
The leadership team suggested that probably the most stabilizing path forward – the one that might best serve our mission, company, stakeholders, employees and the general public – can be so that you can resign and put in place a certified board that may lead the corporate forward in stability. Leadership worked with you across the clock to seek out a mutually agreeable end result. Yet inside two days of your initial decision, you again replaced interim CEO Mira Murati against one of the best interests of the corporate. You furthermore may informed the leadership team that allowing the corporate to be destroyed “can be consistent with the mission.”
Your actions have made it obvious that you simply are incapable of overseeing OpenAI. We’re unable to work for or with those who lack competence, judgement and look after our mission and employees. We, the undersigned, may decide to resign from OpenAI and join the newly announced Microsoft subsidiary run by Sam Altman and Greg Brockman. Microsoft has assured us that there are positions for all OpenAI employees at this recent subsidiary should we decide to hitch. We are going to take this step imminently, unless all current board members resign, and the board appoints two recent lead independent directors, akin to Bret Taylor and Will Hurd, and reinstates Sam Altman and Greg Brockman.”
— CNBC’s Jordan Novet and Hayden Field contributed to this report.
That is breaking news. Please check back for updates.