Sam Altman’s friends: Satya Nadella of Microsoft is certainly one of them

After Friday’s shocking decision by OpenAI to remove Sam Altman, it was Satya Nadella, whose Microsoft Corp. is the ChatGPT-maker’s biggest backer, who has been working with investors, including Thrive Capital and Tiger Global Management, to bring back the ousted CEO.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (right) greets then OpenAI CEO Sam Altman during the OpenAI DevDay event on November 06, 2023. (AFP)

Reports claimed that Nadella has been in touch with Altman and pledged to support him in whatever steps he takes next. Nadella was blindsided by the board’s decision, according to people familiar with the situation.

On Monday, Nadella announced that Microsoft will hire Altman and other members, including former OpenAI president Greg Brockman, days after the co-founder was fired.

“Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, together with colleagues, will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team,” Nadella said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

Altman, a 38-year-old American entrepreneur, co-founded OpenAI in 2015 and took the reins as chief executive officer in 2019.

In fact, since OpenAI fired Altman, a host of players across the tech industry have come onto the scene.

From co-founders to chief executives, here are their roles and how they play into the escalating series of events happening at the artificial intelligence company.

Greg Brockman

Brockman, who co-founded OpenAI eight years ago in his apartment, resigned as president on Friday hours after the board pushed out Altman. Brockman wrote in a post on the social media site X: “Based on today’s news, I quit.”

Brockman had been due to step down from his role as board chairman but stay on at the company, reporting to the new CEO.

Mira Murati

OpenAI appointed Murati as interim CEO after the company ousted Altman. She wrote that she was “honored and humbled” to take up the position, saying it was important for OpenAI to remain “focused, driven, and true to our core values,” according to a memo seen by news agency Bloomberg.

Satya Nadella

The Microsoft CEO reached out to Altman following the firing to offer him support in his next steps, people with knowledge of the situation told Bloomberg.

Microsoft is OpenAI’s largest investor with a stake worth more than $10 billion. Nadella succeeded Steve Ballmer as Microsoft CEO in 2014.

Earlier this month, Nadella made a surprise visit to OpenAI’s developer conference. “Our job No. 1 is to build the best system, so that you can build the best models and then make that all available to developers,” Nadella told Altman, on stage at DevDay in San Francisco.

Ilya Sutskever

Sutskever, OpenAI’s chief scientist and co-founder, was one of the board members whom Altman reportedly clashed with over some aspects including the pace of developing generative AI.

Sutskever asked Altman for a call on Friday and told him that he was fired on a Google Meet, Brockman said in a post on X.

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