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  • Sneha Vaswan

ALTMAN AND BROCKMAN MOVE TO MICROSOFT POST-OPENAI DEPARTURE: A TRANSFORMATIVE SHIFT IN AI LEADERSHIP

Author: Sneha Vaswan,

Symbiosis Law School, Pune

On November 18, 2023, Open AI, a well-known artificial intelligence business, unexpectedly announced the resignation of co-founder and board chairman Greg Brockman and the departure of CEO Sam Altman. The board expressed dissatisfaction with Altman's leadership due to his communications' lack of consistency and sincerity. The subsequent reorganization caused turbulence in the closely held shares of Open AI on the secondary market. It prompted concerns about the company's survival.


Altman's departure stunned the IT industry. Altman, a pioneer in artificial intelligence, co-founded Chat GPT and DALL-E, two of Open AI's most popular projects. Many credited Altman with driving Open AI to its $86 billion valuation and prominent position in the AI business. The board acknowledged that there were risks, but expressed confidence in Mira Murati, Open AI's CTO since 2018. During the post-Open AI departure era, Murati served as interim CEO.


Following the board's decision, Greg Brockman expressed his amazement and displeasure on Twitter. In a series of tweets, he outlined why he and Sam Altman were leaving Open AI. According to Brockman, the previous night's events started with Ilya inviting Sam to a meeting. Except for Greg, everyone on the board attended this Google Meet meeting to discuss Sam's termination. Greg was then informed that he had been removed from the board and assured that his job would continue to be essential even after Open AI left.


Brockman conveyed his astonishment and sorrow regarding the board's decision in a tweet, adding that before Greg and Sam's departure from Open AI, they wished to extend their sincere appreciation to all the exceptional individuals with whom they collaborated—investors, customers, and all those who have communicated with—during their tenure at Open AI.


Furthermore, he furnished supplementary context regarding the circumstance, admonishing against an excessive fixation on recent occurrences. Brockman conveyed a sense of optimism regarding the future by advising, "Although they are grateful for the assistance rendered, please refrain from fixating on it for a prolonged duration." Every detail will be in order. An improvement is imminent.


Following Altman's departure, Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, quickly announced that Altman and Greg Brockman would be joining the company to head a new advanced AI research team. This calculated action by Microsoft is akin to following Altman's dismissal. Emmett Shear, a former CEO of Twitch, was named Open AI's acting CEO during the Altman and Brockman's Microsoft move and post-open AI departure phase.


Following the announcement, there was a social media frenzy. Netizens praised Nadella for supposedly acquiring Open AI without any financial consequences. People on the internet speculate about Altman's possible impact due to Microsoft's 49% stake during the post-Open AI departure era. Around 700 Open AI workers have signed an open letter threatening to resign unless Altman was reinstalled as CEO in the post-Open AI departure timeframe. These events have sparked talks about Altman's possible comeback. Microsoft's and other investors' responses prevented an agreement on new board composition and governance.


The matter became more complicated when Open AI's chief scientist and board member Ilya Sutskever signed the open letter. This meant that two more board members were required to support Altman's possible return in the event of a "post-open AI departure." In addition to announcing his resignation as president of Open AI, Greg Brockman disclosed his post-Open AI departure collaboration with Altman at Microsoft.


Amidst these changes, Mira Murati resumed her position as Chief Technology Officer. Emmett Shear was formally appointed as the new CEO of Open AI. Microsoft pledged to maintain a long-term partnership with Open AI, even if there was a brief stock decline after the "post-open AI departure," swiftly rectified by the Open AI founders' Microsoft move.


The AI industry faces challenges and uncertainties due to the "Open AI Founders Microsoft Move" and the departure of three lead researchers who followed Altman and Brockman. These developments have left many wondering how organizations can acclimate to the rapidly changing field of artificial intelligence. Altman and Brockman's Microsoft team is dedicated to advancing to bigger things and investigating the new opportunities that artificial intelligence presents. Although Brockman's tweet already alluded to the Open AI Founders Microsoft Move, the Altman and Brockman Microsoft move has brought the world to the edges of their seats, anxiously anticipating what comes next for AI.


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