OpenAI’s board of directors is reportedly in talks with Sam Altman, ex-Y Combinator president and an OpenAI co-founder, to return to OpenAI as CEO as soon as this week.
According to Bloomberg, the board is in discussions with Altman, and possibly other board members, about his potential return. Various scenarios are being considered, including Altman returning as a director on a transitional board, potentially accompanied by former Salesforce Inc. co-CEO Bret Taylor.
Bloomberg reports that investors, including Thrive Capital, Khosla Ventures, Tiger Global Management, and Sequoia Capital, are pushing for Altman’s return to resolve the management crisis before Thanksgiving.
If Altman were to return to OpenAI, it would mean he would forgo his role with Microsoft leading a new AI research lab, a position he had accepted alongside former OpenAI president Greg Brockman, who resigned in protest with Altman on Friday. Altman is said to have stipulated “significant” managerial and governance changes at OpenAI as a condition of his return.
These developments follow a memo from OpenAI VP of global affairs Anna Makanju, indicating that OpenAI’s management had been in “intense discussions” with the board, Altman, and interim CEO Emmett Shear in an attempt to re-unify the company.
Shear has indicated that he does not plan to stay on if the board fails to communicate its reasoning for Altman’s abrupt dismissal. Over the weekend, OpenAI management began vetting candidates to replace the board for Altman’s possible return.
The company’s employees are in widespread revolt, with over 700 of its roughly 770 employees signing a letter calling for the board to resign and reinstate Altman. In the midst of this, companies like Salesforce and Microsoft have attempted to recruit OpenAI researchers by offering matching compensation to those who join their research teams.