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OpenAI’s New Interim CEO Says He Will Reform Leadership Team


OpenAI’s newly appointed interim CEO — the second person to hold that post in three days — said one of his primary objectives is to investigate the process that led to the departure of OpenAI’s previous CEO, Sam Altman, on Friday (Nov. 17).

Emmett Shear, who previously served as the CEO of Twitch, said in a Monday (Nov. 20) post on X, formerly known as Twitter, that “the process and communications around Sam’s removal has been handled very badly, which has seriously damaged our trust.”

OpenAI announced Friday that Altman was departing the company, leaving his positions as both CEO and a member of the board of directors, following a deliberative review process by the board. The company also said Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati would serve as interim CEO.

Altman’s supporters worked to get him reinstated, but it was reported Sunday (Nov. 19) that those discussions reached a stalemate.

In his Monday post, Shear said he received an invitation to become interim CEO of OpenAI and accepted “because I believe that OpenAI is one of the most important companies currently in existence.”

Outlining a three-point plan for the next 30 days, Shear said he would hire an independent investigator to look into the process, continue to speak with the company’s stakeholders and share the key takeaways, and reform the management and leadership team “into an effective force to drive results for our customers.”

“I have nothing but respect for what Sam and the entire OpenAI team have built,” Shear said in the post. “It’s not just an incredible research project and software product, but an incredible company. I’m here because I know that, and I want to do everything in my power to protect it and grow it further.”

Shear was selected by the OpenAI board for the role of interim CEO because of his recognition of the threats presented by AI, his success in building Twitch and his experience in leading a large engineering group, Bloomberg reported Monday, citing unnamed sources.

The ousting of the company’s founding team without warning has rattled the OpenAI team, and the firm may face a brain drain as employees flee to competitors that may be more stable, PYMNTS’ Karen Webster wrote Monday.

In the meantime, Altman and OpenAI’s president and co-founder, Greg Brockman, will be joining Microsoft to spearhead a new AI research team.

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