“Leading shareholders in OpenAI, including Microsoft and the venture firm Thrive Capital, are helping orchestrate the efforts to reinstate Altman. Microsoft invested $13 billion in OpenAI and is its primary financial backer.”

– Keach Hagey, Berber Jin, and Deepa Seetharaman

The Wall Street Journal says ex-OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is weighing his options between returning to the company with a new board and governance structure or starting a new venture. The report does not suggest his return is a distinct possibility, only that a group of OpenAI’s investors is trying to arrange it.

A company officer released a statement earlier that Altman’s departure did not involve any “malfeasance or anything related to our financial, business, safety, or security/privacy practices. This was a breakdown in communication between Sam and the board.”

Instead, speculation centres around competing philosophies in the trajectory of OpenAI’s growth. The opposites appear to be between “go-slower” and “go faster” in expanding AI capabilities. Altman has been a driver of new investment and rapid growth in OpenAI. Others express concern about assuring AI safety and alignment with human values as new capabilities evolve.

OpenAI also has an unusual corporate structure, in essence a capped-profit model that straddles it’s not-for-profit origin and a for-profit mechanism that encourages outside investment.


OpenAI Investors Trying to Get Sam Altman Back as CEO After Sudden Firing | THE WALL STREET JOURNAL | November 19, 2023 | by Keach Hagey, Berber Jin, and Deepa Seetharaman