Former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman together with some of his colleagues will join Microsoft to lead its AI research team.
Microsoft, one of the leading global tech giants, has recruited former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman after he unexpectedly left the company on Friday following a loss of confidence in his leadership by the board.
After a weekend long of negotiations for his possible return to the fast rising AI firm which proved abortive, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced Monday that the company has welcomed Altman, alongside Greg Brockman, co-founder and former president of OpenAI to lead its new AI research team.
“We’re extremely excited to share the news that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, together with colleagues, will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team. We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success,” said Nadella.
Former OpenAI Team Joins Microsoft
Altman confirmed his move to Microsoft through a post on X, where he shared Nadella’s announcement with the message:
“The mission continues.”
Nadella hinted at Microsoft’s approach to fostering independent identities within the company, drawing parallels with successful collaborations such as GitHub, Mojang Studios, and LinkedIn.
Last week, several OpenAI employees departed the firm in protest against Altman’s dismissal. However, Nadella hinted that Altman and Brockman would be joined by “colleagues.”
We remain committed to our partnership with OpenAI and have confidence in our product roadmap, our ability to continue to innovate with everything we announced at Microsoft Ignite, and in continuing to support our customers and partners. We look forward to getting to know Emmett…
— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) November 20, 2023
Nadella disclosed that Microsoft would welcome former top talents from OpenAI, including Szymon Sidor, Jakub Pachocki, and Aleksander Madry, with “more” expected to join in the future.
While Microsoft does not have a seat on OpenAI’s board, the tech giant holds a significant stake of about 50% in the startup. During Altman’s tenure as the chief executive of the AI startup, the tech giant invested over $10 billion and acquired almost half of OpenAI’s ownership. Despite the leadership change, Nadella confirmed that Microsoft will remain committed to the startup.
“We remain committed to our partnership with OpenAI and have confidence in our product roadmap, our ability to continue to innovate with everything we announced at Microsoft Ignite, and in continuing to support our customers and partners. We look forward to getting to know Emmett Shear and OAI’s new leadership team and working with them,” Nadella said.
Former OpenAI CEO Pitches New AI Startup to Investors
According to reports, the newly ousted OpenAI CEO was making plans to launch a new artificial intelligence-focused company before his dismissal on Friday. The New York Times, in a November 18 article citing three people familiar with the matter, stated that Altman planned to spearhead the new venture with his longtime partner and co-founder at OpenAI, Brockman.
While more information regarding the potential operations of the company is unavailable, Altman is already working on pitching the initiative to investors. Tech investors are already hinting at backing the upcoming project. Alfred Lin, a popular investor in the technology space from Sequoia Capital, which invested in OpenAI and Altman’s first startup, Loopt, said on X that he is excited about the “next world-changing company” the former OpenAI executives are planning.
Similarly, Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, also chimed in, saying, “I can’t wait to see what he does next.”
Meanwhile, after Altman’s departure from OpenAI, the company hired former Twitch CEO and co-founder Emmett Shear as interim CEO, replacing Mira Murati, the former CTO of OpenAI who was appointed as its interim chief executive following Altman’s unexpected dismissal.