Just a day after he was unceremoniously fired, Altman reportedly began talks to return—after investors revolted against the board’s decision.
According to The Verge, Altman is in talks with the board of the company that launched ChatGPT and put artificial intelligence on the fast-track—but is said to be ambivalent.
The Wall Street Journal reports that OpenAI backer Microsoft and venture capital firm Thrive are leading the drive to put Altman, 38, back at the helm, but he may want the board replaced.
A deadline for the decision was originally set for 5 p.m. PT on Saturday, but was then extended to 5 p.m. PT on Sunday when the board failed to take action by the original deadline.
According to The Verge, Altman was back in the building at the negotiating table Sunday afternoon with a condition to his return that would see the current board–the same board that fired him–step down. The “sticking point”–according to The Verge–is who would replace those current members.
Altman posted a selfie Sunday afternoon holding an OpenAI guest pass. “First and last time i ever wear one of these,” he wrote.
A source told The Verge that the 5 p.m. deadline was “meant to be a hard deadline,” and that if a deal does not ensue, things will take “a different path.” It’s likely negotiations could take longer than anticipated.
It’s the latest swivel in a whiplash-inducing turn of events that unfolded Friday afternoon when OpenAI announced that Altman had been fired for not being “candid” with the board.
OpenAI also kicked co-founder Greg Brockman off the board, but allowed him to remain president. However, hours later he took to X to tweet that he was quitting.
The shakeup came as a surprise to Altman, Brockman, OpenAI employees, and even top investors, according to multiple reports. “Sam and I are shocked and saddened by what the board did today,” Brockman tweeted.
Altman also addressed his ouster on X: “i loved my time at openai. it was transformative for me personally, and hopefully the world a little bit. most of all i loved working with such talented people. will have more to say about what’s next later.”
OpenAI did not explain why Altman was canned and Brockman demoted, but in an internal company memo obtained by Axios, chief operating officer Brad Lightcap wrote, “We can say definitively that the board’s decision was not made in response to malfeasance or anything related to our financial, business, safety, or security/privacy practices. This was a breakdown in communication between Sam and the board.”
Plugged-in tech journalist Kara Swisher reported that there was a split between those who wanted to accelerate commercial uses for AI and those who want to move more cautiously given the enormous power and risks of the new technology.
Even before he was fired, Altman was planning on launching a new AI venture with partners outside OpenAI, Reuters reported.