Sam Altman says leaving OpenAI was extremely painful but the company became more focused after his departure

Sam Altman was fired by the OpenAI board in November 2023. The young CEO says the company became more focused and integrated after his departure.

by Vikash Kumawat
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In November last year, ChatGPT’s parent company OpenAI and its CEO Sam Altman were the talk of the tech world. The startup founder was suddenly fired by the OpenAI board and this angered many of its employees. As a result, employees threatened to quit and join Microsoft if Altman was not reinstated. Then, briefly, Altman returned as CEO of the company and fired all previous board members to form a new board.

Now, Sam’s reaction after being removed from the OpenAI board is making headlines again.

In an interview last month, Altman said that being fired from the company was “extremely painful” for him on a personal level. However, he said the move turned out to be great for OpenAI.

He said, “This has been extremely painful for me personally, but I really think it’s been great for OpenAI.”

Upon regaining control, Altman said that OpenAI has reached a new level of unity, determination and focus. Although he did not expect this moment to “come so soon,” Altman anticipated inevitable tensions during OpenAI’s journey toward developing Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).

Microsoft, which was one of the largest investors in OpenAI, joined its board following Altman’s reinstatement.

A report by The Verge at the time said the tech giant had received a “non-voting observer seat” on the board of OpenAI, the nonprofit that controls the company. This meant that the tech giant could attend board meetings and gain access to confidential company information. However, Microsoft has no right to vote in board decisions.

Altman informed OpenAI staff of the development via a memo.

He wrote that he had “never been more excited about the future” and that he was “grateful for everyone’s hard work” in an “unclear and unprecedented” situation. He said he believes his “resilience and spirit set him apart in the industry.” He also said he “feels good” about the OpenAI team’s “probability of success in achieving its mission.”

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella offered Altman the job after he was removed from the OpenAI board. When Altman was reinstated, Nadella said in a tweet, “We are encouraged by the changes to the OpenAI Board. We believe this is a necessary first step on the path to a more stable, well-informed, and effective governance. “

Adding that he talked to both Altman and Brockman about the decision, he added, “Sam, Greg, and I have talked and agreed they have a key role to play along with the OAI leadership team in ensuring OAI continues to thrive and build on its mission. We look forward to building on our strong partnership and delivering the value of this next generation of AI to our customers and partners.”

After Altman was removed as CEO, Nadella announced that he would be joining a new division of Microsoft and leading their AI efforts. Nadella also praised Altman and said he was very excited to have him at the company.

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