More than 500 of OpenAI’s 770 employees have reportedly signed a letter saying they will leave the company if the company’s board does not resign and reinstate former CEO Sam Altman and former President Greg Brockman.
Among the signers of the letter is Ilya Sutskever, OpenAI’s chief scientist and one of the members of the board who voted to oust Altman, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Monday (Nov. 20).
In a Monday post on X, Sutskever said: “I deeply regret my participation in the board’s actions. I never intended to harm OpenAI. I love everything we’ve built together and I will do everything I can to reunite the company.”
This post and the report of the letter come on the same day that OpenAI’s newly appointed interim CEO — Emmett Shear, who previously served as the CEO of Twitch — said one of his primary objectives is to investigate the process that led to the departure of Altman on Friday (Nov. 17), “which has seriously damaged our trust.”
The employees who signed the letter saying they will leave added that Microsoft has told them it will offer all of them jobs, according to the WSJ report. Microsoft has invested $13 billion in OpenAI and added Altman and Brockman to its ranks after their departures from the company.
In their letter, the signers said senior leaders at OpenAI had attempted to accommodate the board’s concerns and that the board had failed to provide evidence for its allegations, per the report.
“We are unable to work for or with people that lack competence, judgement and care for our mission and employees,” the letter said.
When announcing the leadership change on Friday, the board said Altman lacked candor, and the board stood by that statement on Sunday, according to the report, which cited an unnamed source. A loss of trust over communication led to the board’s move on Friday, per the report.
The employees’ letter also demanded that two independent board members be added, according to the report. Altman tried but failed to overhaul the board on Sunday, the report said.