Who is OpenAI ex-CEO Sam Altman? Here’s why he joined Microsoft

Days after his unceremonious exit from OpenAI, the firm’s founder Sam Altman will join Microsoft.

Sam Altman, former OpenAI CEO, has now joined Satya Nadella’s firm Microsoft. (REUTERS)

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella confirmed that Altman will be joining its parent company along with his ex-colleague, Greg Brockman. Both of them will be leading a new advanced AI research team, said Nadella.

Nadella also appeared to confirm Emmett Shear’s reported appointment as the new OpenAI CEO, saying they are “looking forward to getting to know Emmett Shear and OAI’s new leadership team and working with them.”

Who is Sam Altman, ex-CEO of OpenAI?

Sam Altman is an entrepreneur who is known for his disruptive and advanced views on artificial intelligence. Altman served as the Chief Executive Officer of OpenAI from 2019 to 2023.

Interested in the tech world at a young age, Altman learnt how to code and take apart a Macintosh computer just at the age of eight. After getting into the premium Stanford University, he decided to drop out to develop his own mobile app Loopt, eventually rising to the top and making his way to OpenAI.

Before Microsoft-owned OpenAI, Sam Altman also headed firms like WorldCoin and Y Combinator. Altman also served as the CEO of Reddit for just eight days after Yishan Wong’s resignation.

Sam Altman’s exit from Microsoft-led OpenAI came as a surprise move, but the board unanimously pushed him out of the firm. There were reports of Altman being brought back just a day after getting sacked, but he was approached by Nadella to lead an AI research team in Microsoft.

Why was Sam Altman fired from OpenAI?

The OpenAI board had decided to remove Altman from the position of CEO earlier this month. The board said that Altman “was not openly candid with his communications with them”.

The OpenAI board also said that Altman had a different view on AI safety which conflicted with the opinions of the company. He had a strained relationship with the board and him pursuing side ventures created more tensions for the former CEO.

Sam Altman has expertise on artificial intelligence research, and some of his views on AI were conflicting with the board of OpenAI. Altman was reportedly raising funds for a rival AI firm, but it is being assumed that he was pulled back in by Nadella solely because of his experience in the sector.

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