OpenAI investors are pressing the company’s board to reverse its decision to fire Sam Altman as chief executive officer and remove him as a director, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Some of the investors including Thrive Capital are in talks with Microsoft Corp., the largest shareholder of OpenAI, about reinstating Altman as CEO, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the overtures are private. Tiger Global Management is also part of the campaign, according to one person.
Thrive, which was expected to lead a tender offer for employee shares, has not yet wired the money and has made it clear to OpenAI that Atlman’s departure will affect its actions.
Thrive, the largest OpenAI investor aside from Microsoft, is working to reinstate both Altman and Greg Brockman, the startup’s president who quit on Friday in protest.
Altman is open to returning to the company, one of the people said. In one scenario under consideration, members of the current OpenAI board would step down as soon as this weekend, according to multiple people. However, the situation is still fluid and no decisions have been made, the people said.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has been in touch with Altman and pledged to support him in whatever steps he takes next, the people said. Nadella was blindsided by the board’s decision, according to people familiar with the situation.
Representatives of San Francisco-based OpenAI and Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft declined to comment. Thrive and Tiger Global declined to comment.
The OpenAI board has been subjected to intense criticism over its decision to remove Altman, which came as a surprise to both investors and to Altman himself.
Several people, including co-founder Brockman, have departed from the company in protest. The resignations are likely to continue, the people said.
If Altman were to return, he would ask for changes in the way the company is governed, some of the people said.
If he does not return, Altman has been considering launching a new venture, possibly with former staffers of OpenAI, according to several people.
Forbes and the Verge earlier reported some details of the campaign to reinstate Altman.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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