How OpenAI pulled off Sam Altman’s return? ‘72 intense hours,’ says interim CEO

Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear, who joined OpenAI as interim CEO following Sam Altman’s ouster, on Wednesday revealed it took ‘72 very intense hours of work’ for the company to pull off Altman’s return, adding that he himself was ‘glad to have been a part of the solution.’

Emmett Shear (File Photo/AFP)

“I am deeply pleased by this result after ~72 very intense hours of work. Coming into OpenAI, I wasn’t sure what the right path would be. This was the pathway that maximized safety alongside doing right by all stakeholders involved. I’m glad to have been a part of the solution,” Shear posted on X (formerly Twitter) shortly after the San Francisco-based AI research firm announced Altman’s reinstatement as CEO.

On November 20, three days after the 38-year-old’s ouster, the Twitch co-founder and its ex-CEO was approached to lead OpenAI on an interim basis; he accepted the offer, calling it a ‘once -in-a-lifetime opportunity.’

Initially, Mira Murati, the firm’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), was appointed to oversee Altman’s responsibilities until a full-time successor was found.

Sam Altman’s ouster, and return

In a sudden development on November 17, the AI research firm sacked Altman; this prompted Greg Brockman, the company’s President, to resign in protest. They were subsequently hired by Microsoft – OpenAI’s largest investor – to lead a new advanced AI research team at the tech giant.

In the meantime, more than 500 OpenAI employees, accounting for over 65% of its 770-strong workforce, threatened to resign and join their former CEO at Microsoft if he was not reinstated.

This prompted the ChatGPT creator to begin ‘intense discussions,’ which ultimately resulted in both Altman and Brockman coming back.

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