Sam Altman’s OpenAI Timeline Everything Started with a Phone Call
The Inception of OpenAI A Timeline Beginning with a Phone Call by Sam Altman
Data Source: LianGuai, Cointelegraph; Compiled by: Song Xue
On November 17th, artificial intelligence startup OpenAI made a shocking announcement, firing CEO Sam Altman and reaffirming this decision on November 19th by appointing Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear as the new CEO.
During this period, the tech industry was in turmoil with Altman’s colleagues rallying behind him. OpenAI’s president and co-founder Greg Brockman also resigned, and the OpenAI board held meetings to possibly reinstate Altman, despite strong opposition from shareholders and employees.
Here is a timeline of the events leading to Altman’s dismissal.
November 16th, Thursday
Ilya Sustekever arranges a call with Altman
According to Brockman’s tweet, OpenAI’s chief scientist Sustekever sent Altman a message on Thursday evening, scheduling a meeting for Friday afternoon.
Furthermore, he claimed that OpenAI’s CTO Mira Murati had been informed that Altman would be fired that night.
November 17th, Friday
Brockman informs Altman of his dismissal
Just past noon on November 17th, Brockman said that Sustekever sent him a text, requesting a phone call. A few minutes after joining the conference call, he was told that he would be removed from the OpenAI board, but would retain the position of president, and Altman had been fired.
OpenAI CEO resigns, X platform posts “job application link”
OpenAI’s board released a statement on Friday, announcing that Sam Altman would step down as CEO and leave the board, with CTO Mira Murati taking over. After the announcement of Altman’s departure, Elon Musk’s X platform posted a “job application link” captioned “just in case someone needs it.” Users in the comments section joked, saying “Sam Altman is available” and “perfect timing.” Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt also commented on Altman’s departure, saying Altman is a hero in his eyes, having grown a company from nothing to a value of 90 billion dollars (approximately 6,498 billion yuan), and fundamentally changing our world. “I can’t wait to see what he does next.”
OpenAI co-founder: I resign as president due to Sam Altman being removed as OpenAI CEO
According to LianGuai, OpenAI co-founder and president Brockman retweeted Sam Altman’s tweet and said, “After learning today’s news, I sent the following message to the OpenAI team.” The message reads as follows:
I am incredibly proud of what we have built together, starting in my apartment eight years ago. We have gone through challenging and great moments together, achieving so much that seemed impossible.
But according to today’s news, I quit.
Resignation numbers surge
After Brockman resigned, several senior executives at OpenAI followed suit, with Aleksander Madfry, the company’s COO, and Jakub Lian Guaichoki, the Research Director, announcing their resignations respectively.
OpenAI dismisses Sam Altman as CEO and board member, citing “lack of honesty”
According to an official announcement, OpenAI has announced a leadership change, with Sam Altman stepping down as CEO and leaving the board. The company’s CTO, Mira Murati, will serve as interim CEO, effective immediately. OpenAI co-founder and former board chairman, Greg Brockman, will also step down from the board.
The announcement stated, “Altman’s departure comes after careful consideration by the board, as he has consistently been less than honest in his communications, hindering the board’s ability to fulfill its duties. The board no longer has confidence in his ability to lead OpenAI.”
The OpenAI board is composed of OpenAI Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever, Independent Director and Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, tech entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, and Helen Toner from the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University.
Microsoft issues statement on OpenAI
Microsoft, OpenAI’s largest investor and partner, has released a statement regarding Altman’s dismissal. CEO Satya Nadella attempts to ease market tension and assures that the dismissal of Altman will not have a significant impact on the development of the partnership.
“We have a long-term agreement with OpenAI that provides us with full access to everything we need to realize our innovation agenda and exciting product roadmap, and we remain committed to our partnership with Mira and the team.”
Saturday, November 18
Management left shocked
According to an internal memo seen by Axios on November 18, OpenAI’s COO Brad Lightcap expressed that the news has left the entire management team surprised.
“We can say definitively that the board’s decision is not in response to any misconduct or anything related to our financial, business, security, or privacy practices. It’s the communication barrier between Sam and the board.”
After being dismissed by OpenAI, French officials extend an olive branch to Altman and his team
Following Sam Altman’s dismissal as CEO by the OpenAI board, Jean-Noel Barrot, the ministerial representative for digital affairs in France, extended an olive branch to Altman. In an announcement on the evening of the 18th via the X platform, he stated that if Altman, his team, and their talents are willing, they are welcome to come to France. They are making efforts in this field to ensure that AI serves our common interest.
Microsoft “Angry” at Altman’s Departure, Urges Board to Reinstate Him
Bloomberg reported on November 18th that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is “angry” about this decision and has begun urging the board to consider reinstating Altman as CEO.
Board Agrees to Reconsider Altman’s Position
Multiple sources revealed that the OpenAI board is discussing the possibility of bringing back Sam Altman as CEO. A source close to Altman stated that the board has tentatively agreed to his resignation and allowing both Sam Altman and OpenAI co-founder Brockman to return.
The current OpenAI board consists of Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever, Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, former CEO of GeoSim Systems Tasha McCauley, and the Strategic Director of Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology Helen Toner. They do not hold any equity in OpenAI.
According to multiple sources, Ilya Sutskever is also a co-founder of OpenAI and plays a leading role. He played an important role in the removal of Altman, indicating a power struggle between the company’s research and product departments.
OpenAI Memo States No “Misconduct” Behind Sam Altman’s Dismissal
OpenAI’s COO Brad Lightcap stated in an internal memo that Sam Altman’s removal as CEO was not due to “misconduct or anything related to our financial, business, safety, or security/privacy practices,” but rather because of a “communication breakdown” between Altman and the board. Since Altman’s departure was announced on Friday, the OpenAI board has remained silent, leaving room for speculation and uncertainty about the dismissal.
November 19th, Sunday
Altman’s Visitor Badge
Altman posted a photo on November 19th at OpenAI headquarters, showing a visitor badge. This was a deadline for the decision regarding the reinstatement of the CEO position, set for 5 PM Pacific Standard Time.
Sources told Bloomberg that reinstating Altman as CEO may require the board to issue an apology statement to clarify his alleged misconduct.
Microsoft Focuses on Board Seat, Insiders Push for Altman’s Return
As the biggest supporter of OpenAI, Microsoft is considering a role on the board for former CEO Sam Altman in the event of his possible return to OpenAI as a ChatGPT developer. Microsoft may serve as either a board member or observer, the latter not having voting rights. This is part of the efforts by OpenAI’s main supporters and senior leadership to rehire Altman.
According to reports, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella personally assisted OpenAI interim CEO Mira Murati in the discussions. In addition, if Altman is unable to return to OpenAI, Microsoft will consider investing in Altman’s new venture. Microsoft has invested over $11 billion in OpenAI, primarily in the form of computing resources, making its technology a core part of Microsoft’s AI efforts, including integrating chatbots into the Bing search engine and adding new tools to Office 365 software.
Former Twitch executive Emmet Shear appointed as new CEO of OpenAI
According to reports on the evening of November 19th, the board of directors chose Emmett Shear, co-founder of Twitch, as the new CEO instead of compromising. Interim CEO Murati plans to reinstate Altman and Brockman in their respective positions.
OpenAI internal memo: Lack of transparency in Sam Altman’s behavior and interaction with the board undermines the board’s ability to effectively supervise
According to an internal memo from OpenAI, the board of directors stated, “We stand firmly by our decision (to dismiss Sam Altman), believing it is the only way to advance and defend the mission of OpenAI,” and “In short, Sam’s behavior and lack of transparency in his interaction with the board have undermined the board’s ability to effectively supervise the company in accordance with its responsibilities.” The board said that Sam Altman has lost the board’s trust, and removing him from his position is necessary to uphold the board’s duties and advance the organization’s mission, as any CEO must be honest and transparent with the board.
1. Altman and Brockman
OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman: I love the OpenAI team very much
OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman posted on social media, saying, “I love the OpenAI team very much.” Earlier, there were reports that Sam Altman would decide whether or not to return to OpenAI on Saturday evening local time.
OpenAI co-founder Brockman: Shocked and saddened by the actions of the board, bigger things are about to happen
OpenAI co-founder Brockman wrote in a post that Sam and I are shocked and saddened by the actions of the board today. First of all, let us express our gratitude to everyone who has worked at OpenAI, our clients, investors, and all those who have lent a helping hand.
We are still trying to figure out what exactly happened. Here’s what we know:
– Last night, Sam received a text message from Ilya (another co-founder and chief scientist) inviting him to talk on Friday noon. Sam joined the Google Meet conference, and the entire board was present except for me. Ilya told Sam that he was fired and the news would be announced soon.
– At 12:19 noon, I received a text message from Ilya asking for a call as soon as possible. At 12:23, Ilya sent a Google Meet link. I was informed that he would be removed from the board (although he is crucial to the company and will retain his position), and Sam was fired. Around the same time, OpenAI released a blog post.
– From what we know, except for Mira, who found out the news the night before, the rest of the management team only found out about it shortly after. Everyone’s support has been really great; thank you, but please don’t worry. We’ll be fine, and greater things are coming.
Sam Altman still remains with the Worldcoin development team
Former CEO of OpenAI, Sam Altman, is still a co-founder and chairman of Tools for Humanity, the company behind Worldcoin. Negotiations surrounding Altman’s return to OpenAI are reportedly underway. Tools for Humanity’s website lists Altman as a co-founder and chairman of the project, and a spokesperson confirmed that the website is still indicative of his current position.
2. Insider Information
Insider: Widespread disagreements between OpenAI CEO and the board led to his dismissal
According to sources familiar with the matter, there were widespread disagreements between Sam Altman and the board of OpenAI, particularly with co-founder and Chief Scientist, Ilya Sutskever. Points of contention included opinions on AI safety, the pace of technological development, and the commercialization of the company.
These disputes reportedly reflect long-standing internal divisions within OpenAI regarding the development of powerful AI tools, which have plagued the company since its inception. Similar safety and commercialization disputes were also the reasons behind Elon Musk’s departure from OpenAI in 2018, and some employees subsequently left in 2020 to start a competing company called Anthropic.
In July, Sutskever formed a new team within the company to oversee the future of superintelligence AI systems. A month ago, Sutskever’s responsibilities within the company were reduced, which already indicated friction with Altman and President Brockman. Sutskever then appealed to the board, garnering support from some members.
Insider: Sam Altman sought billions of dollars in funding for a new AI chip company before being fired
According to insiders, Sam Altman had been traveling to the Middle East to raise billions of dollars in funding for a new AI chip company codenamed Tigris, which aimed to produce semiconductors to compete with Nvidia. However, the company has not yet been established, and negotiations with investors are still in the early stages. Altman was also actively seeking funding for a hardware device focused on AI, which he was developing in collaboration with former Apple design director, Jony Ive. Altman had been in talks with SoftBank Group, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, and Mubadala Investment Company for potential joint ventures, aiming to raise hundreds of billions of dollars for these new ventures. Insiders say that Altman urged investors to consider his new ventures at a time when OpenAI recently signed an offer to acquire led by Thrive Capital. The AI chip company could help OpenAI by reducing the cost of running its own services such as ChatGPT and Dall-E.
3. Altman and Other Industry Figures
Coinbase CEO: All Outstanding OpenAI Employees Should Resign
LianGuai reports that Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong stated on social media that if this is truly an EA, decel, AI safety coup by OpenAI, then the board just burned $80 billion in value and destroyed a shining star of American capitalism, to be sued by investors.
All outstanding OpenAI employees should resign and join Sam/Greg’s new company (if they have one). This time, skip the flashy non-profit board and remove downsizing/EA, keep founder control, avoid meaningless oversight, and just build. Speed it up. You’re creating something amazing for the world, don’t let anyone feel guilty about it and try to grasp it for their own motives.
Cardano Founder Invites Former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman to Build Decentralized Large-Scale Language Model
Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson has extended an invitation to recently dismissed OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, hoping to collaborate with him in building a decentralized large-scale language model on the Cardano blockchain. It is reported that the proposal for the decentralized large-scale language model aligns with the spirit of Cardano in creating sustainable and scalable solutions and represents a paradigm shift in the current development and utilization of artificial intelligence (AI). Moreover, analysts believe that after being dismissed from the OpenAI board, Sam Altman may shift more focus to the cryptocurrency project WorldCoin.
OpenAI Founder Sam Altman Previously Engaged with SoftBank CEO for AI Hardware Startup Fundraising
OpenAI Founder Sam Altman had previously contacted SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son regarding fundraising for an artificial intelligence hardware startup, seeking funds from Middle Eastern funds.
4. Impact on Worldcoin Price
After Sam Altman’s Dismissal, Worldcoin Token Drops 12% in the Short Term
Artificial intelligence (AI) company OpenAI’s board announced the dismissal of CEO Sam Altman and his board position in a blog post on Friday. After the news was released, Sam Altman’s cryptocurrency project Worldcoin (WLD) saw a short-term drop of 12%, now trading at $1.87.
Sam Altman’s Potential Return to OpenAI News Drives Over 23% Increase in WLD in the Past 24 Hours
Following Sam Altman’s plan to return to OpenAI and his message expressing love for the OpenAI team, the WorldCoin token (WLD) experienced a rapid rebound. According to Coingecko data, it is currently priced at $2.31, with a 23.7% increase in the past 24 hours.
As of writing, the WLD price is $2.323, a 4.44% decrease in the past 24 hours.
LianGuai will continue to follow and report on the Altman’s exit from OpenAI event.