Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told CNBC’s Jon Fortt on Monday that the governance structure of OpenAI needs to change, three days after the artificial intelligence startup suddenly fired CEO Sam Altman.
“At this point, I think it’s very clear that something has to change around the governance,” Nadella said. He added that Microsoft would have “a good dialogue with their board on that.”
In his first press interview since Altman’s ouster, Nadella dismissed concerns of long-term damage at OpenAI and said that the critical AI work continues as does the partnership with Microsoft. But his comments didn’t clear up confusion surrounding where Altman and fellow OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman, who was the company’s chairman, will ultimately end up.
Early Monday morning Nadella said that Altman, Brockman and their colleagues would join Microsoft as part of a new AI research group. That post followed news that ex-Twitch CEO Emmett Shear had been named OpenAI interim head as Altman looked to depart. Over the course of Monday, it became less clear that Altman and Brockman would actually be joining Microsoft.
Hundreds of OpenAI employees signed a letter to the company’s board demanding that they resign or else the staffers may choose to leave and join their former boss at Microsoft.
The rapid reinstatement of Altman began to look like a possibility on Saturday as news surfaced that a group of prominent investors, including Microsoft, Tiger Global, Thrive Capital and Sequoia Capital were working to reverse the board’s decision from a day earlier. None of those firms had board seats, and they were caught unaware by the decision.
In a post on X late Saturday night, Altman wrote, “i love the openai team so much.” Brockman, who quit the company after the board removed him as chairman alongside the ouster of Altman, reposted the comment with a heart symbol. Other OpenAI employees did the same.
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