Satya Nadella-led Microsoft to take board seat at OpenAI if Sam Altman returns
Microsoft is planning to take a seat on OpenAI's board if Sam Altman returns as CEO. The company is also urging OpenAI to bring Altman back, alongside other investors, and is reportedly pressing for a board replacement.
The convoluting Sam Altman-OpenAI saga took another twist on Monday as rumours of a possible return to OpenAI were fuelled as Altman was spotted in the building. The former CEO also posted a picture on his X account with the caption “first and last time i ever wear one of these”. However, Altman could yet return to OpenAI as investors have reportedly told the board to get him back onboard, while the company's employees were also shocked and angered at the decision. But if Altman is back, OpenAI investor Microsoft could take a seat on the board.
Microsoft's board role at OpenAI
Quoting two people familiar with the matter, The Information reported that Microsoft is planning to take a seat on the board if the ousted CEO comes back to OpenAI. For the unaware, Microsoft is OpenAI's biggest backer, with a stake of nearly $10 billion.
According to a Bloomberg report, the Satya Nadella-led company is also making efforts to urge OpenAI to bring back Sam Altman as the CEO alongside other investors such as Thrive Capital and Tiger Global Management. And if Altman returns, Microsoft is reportedly planning to take a seat on the board - either as OpenAI's board of directors or as a board observer without voting power. The investors are also reportedly pressing the company to replace the board, amidst reports that OpenAI directors are considering stepping down.
On the other hand, another report claimed that OpenAI employees had given the company an ultimatum to bring Sam Altman but the company missed its 5:00 PM PT deadline, which could lead to a potential mass exodus of employees.
Sam Altman sacking - What happened
On November 17, the abrupt announcement of the sacking of OpenAI Sam Altman sent shockwaves around the tech sector. According to the company, the reason for his sacking was Altman not being “consistently candid in his communications with the board”. The news came as a surprise as just a few days prior, Altman was on stage at the first-ever OpenAI developer day, announcing new features coming to ChatGPT, its artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, as well as the company's other AI efforts. Shortly after the announcement, president and co-founder of the company Greg Brockman also resigned from his position, while the chief technology officer Mira Murati was announced as an interim CEO.