After a weekend of negotiations to bring back Sam Altman as OpenAI CEO following his shock firing, the company’s nonprofit board has gone another way entirely and named former Twitch CEO Emmett Shear as interim CEO. Shear will take over as interim OpenAI CEO from Mira Murati, who was publicly aligned with Altman. The news was first reported by The Information. That’s three CEOs in three days, if you’re keeping track.
The hiring of Shear appears to close the door on Altman’s exit after he was fired Friday when the board said he had not been “consistently candid in his communications.” As we reported Saturday, the board quickly began discussing the CEO’s return under pressure from investors and the threat of a mass employee walkout.
On Saturday night, sources told The Verge the remaining board members had missed a 5PM PT deadline to resign and reinstate Altman and fellow co-founder Greg Brockman or face a slew of staff resignations. After the deadline passed, droves of OpenAI employees started posting their support for Altman on social media.
Altman returned to OpenAI’s office this morning saying it would be the “first and last time” he wore a guest badge — implying he would either return as CEO or never return at all. It appears that after hours of negotiation, it’s the latter.
OpenAI’s profile has skyrocketed since the launch of ChatGPT, which quickly became one of the fastest-growing services ever and kicked off a tech gold rush over generative AI. The company’s valuation reportedly reached $80 to $90 billion in recent weeks. Earlier this month, Altman reported that the service has over 100 million weekly users.