After a weekend of negotiations to potentially bring back Sam Altman as CEO of OpenAI following his shock shot, the company’s nonprofit board has gone in an entirely different direction and named former Twitch CEO and co-founder Emmett Shear as interim CEO, according to a person familiar with the matter. He will succeed Mira Murati, who was publicly aligned with Altman as CEO.
That’s three CEOs in three days, if you’re keeping track.
Shear’s surprise appointment comes after OpenAI’s four-person board refused to step aside and let Altman return, according to multiple sources. The news was first reported by Informationwho said employees were informed Sunday that removing Altman was the “only path” to achieving the company’s mission of “broadly beneficial” artificial general intelligence.
Spokespeople for OpenAI and Microsoft, its largest investor, did not respond to requests for comment.
Shear’s hiring appears to close the door on Altman’s sudden departure after the board said he had not been “consistently forthright in his communications.” As we reported on Saturdaythe board of directors quickly began discussing his return amid pressure from investors and the threat of a mass employee walkout.
On Saturday, the remaining board members failed to meet a 5 p.m. PT deadline set by Altman’s camp to resign and reinstate him alongside fellow co-founder Greg Brockman, under struggling to face a series of staff resignations. After the deadline passed, many OpenAI employees started show their support for Altman on social media.
Altman returned to the OpenAI office on Sunday saying it would be the “first and last time“He wore a guest badge, which implied he would return as CEO or never set foot in the building again. Another deadline to reach a truce by 5 p.m. Sunday did not been respected.
OpenAI’s board of directors, which oversees the nonprofit parent company, is made up of chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, former GeoSim Systems CEO Tasha McCauley and Helen Toner, director of strategy at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown. Sutskever, one of the world’s most prominent AI researchers, played the main role by ousting Altman.
Appointing Shear as CEO of the world’s most high-profile AI company is a surprise given that he has not been considered a leader in the field. In March, he left Twitch just before a major round of layoffs. Twitch experienced another round of layoffs in October. Amazon bought the live streaming service for $1 billion in 2014.
OpenAI’s profile has exploded since ChatGPT launched just a year ago. Earlier this month, Altman announced that he more than 100 million weekly users, making it one of the fastest growing services of all time.