Emmett Shear Named Interim CEO of OpenAI Amid Turbulent Leadership Changes

Emmett Shear Named Interim CEO of OpenAI Amid Turbulent Leadership Changes

It looks like Sam Altman won’t be returning as CEO at OpenAI. The OpenAI board appointed Emmett Shear as the new interim CEO on Sunday evening. Shear, former CEO of Twitch, steps into the role. While OpenAI hasn’t officially confirmed Shear’s appointment, various U.S. media outlets received this information from multiple sources. The Information, Bloomberg, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times are among those reporting on the CEO shake-up at OpenAI.

On Friday evening, November 17, 2023, OpenAI surprisingly dismissed former CEO Sam Altman and named Mira Murati as interim CEO. Murati, previously the company’s Chief Technology Officer, held the position for only two days before the board decided on Sunday evening, November 19, 2023, to appoint Shear as the new interim CEO, according to a communication sent to the staff.

On Sunday, November 19, 2023, it became known that efforts were made to bring Altman back as the company’s CEO. The attempt to rehire Altman was initiated by OpenAI employees and investors like Microsoft. Particularly, investors expressed frustration at not being informed about Altman’s removal. However, these attempts failed as the board was unwilling to meet Altman’s conditions.

The board regards Emmett Shear as a solid choice, stating that he brings “a unique blend of skills, expertise, and connections that will drive OpenAI forward.” In the communication to the staff, the board justified Altman’s removal as “the only way to advance and defend OpenAI’s mission.” Shear is known for his concern about the secure application of AI solutions like ChatGPT.

The announcement was signed by all four company board members: Adam D’Angelo, Helen Toner, Ilya Sutskever, and Tasha McCauley. The board criticized Altman’s behavior, citing “Sam’s conduct and lack of transparency in dealing with the board undermined its ability to effectively oversee the company, as entrusted to him,” as stated in the letter.

Numerous OpenAI researchers are said to have already resigned, and OpenAI President Greg Brockman departed the company in response to Altman’s ousting. Several media outlets speculate that Altman, along with Brockman, will establish a new company likely focusing on artificial intelligence. Details about this venture are currently scarce. If this materializes, ChatGPT would face additional competition.

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Michael Lynch
With a passion for cybersecurity, Michael Lynch covers data protection and online privacy, providing expert guidance and updates on digital security matters.